It has been announced that Ruth Wilson will star in the London premiere of The El. Train: three one-act plays by Eugene O’Neill. The plays, written between 1913 and 1918, are being presented together for the first time.
Ruth will act in The Web and Before Breakfast, directed by Sam Yates, and will make her directorial debut with The Dreamy Kid. Combining live music with immersive design, all housed in the intimate setting of Grade II listed Hoxton Hall (built 1863, seating an audience of 125), The El. Train will run for a limited four-week season from 6th December until 30 December (with press nights on the 12 & 13 December).
Design is by Richard Kent, with lighting by Neil Austin and original composition and sound design by Alex Baranowski. The El. Train is being produced by Found Productions. Further casting will be announced shortly.
Sam Yates said: “I’m thrilled to be presenting three of Eugene O’Neill’s lesser-known, one-act plays at London’s historic Hoxton Hall. Written when O’Neill was in his 20s, these sometimes violent, passionate works show the undeniable genius of one of America’s greatest dramatists. I am delighted to be directing Ruth Wilson in Before Breakfast and The Web, and that she makes her directing debut with The Dreamy Kid.”
Set in impoverished New York at the turn of the 20th Century, the event begins with the three one-act plays linked by a live ragtime/jazz band performing musical vignettes to further evoke the distinctive feel of the period, while elevating O’Neill’s epic themes of sin and redemption, and heaven and hell.
These intensely dramatic plays will be followed by a night of hard liquor and live music at O’Neill’s very own New York watering hole, the Hell Hole Saloon.
After the performance…
Designer Richard Kent and lighting designer Neil Austin are transforming the bar area, remodeled as the Hell Hole Saloon, into an extension of the world of the plays, based on O’Neill’s drinking hole at the time he was writing them.
Live music will continue as the audience drink period cocktails from this exciting and turbulent era in American history, as if they have been invited backstage to drink with the characters and with O’Neill himself. With a license to serve alcohol until 2am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, DJ’s playing on the main stage after 11pm and the capacity to host a further 130 guests once the plays have finished, the Hell Hole Saloon will become the destination pop-up bar for the Christmas period.
The Hell Hole Saloon pop-up is the conception of Found Productions, which is Lucy Chaloner, Alice Russell and Francesca Zampi (part-owner of The Box London) and will be run byJoe Stokoe of Heads, Hearts and Tails (The Scotch, The Box, Trailer Happiness and Quo Vadis).
Eugene O’Neill is one of the most celebrated playwrights of the 20th Century.His plays were amongst the first to include speeches in the American vernacular and to involve characters on the fringes of society, struggling to maintain their hopes and aspirations and often, ultimately, sliding into disillusionment and despair.His best-known plays include Anna Christie (Pulitzer Prize, 1922), Desire Under the Elms (1924), Strange Interlude (Pulitzer Prize, 1928), Mourning Becomes Electra (1931), The Iceman Cometh (1946) and a Moon for the Misbegotten (1947). In 1936 O’Neill received the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Ruth Wilson won the 2012 Olivier Award for Best Actress for her role of Anna in Anna Christie, alongside Jude Law and the 2010 Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire, with Rachel Weisz, both at the Donmar Warehouse. Ruth’s other stage credits include Philistines at the National Theatre and Through A Glass Darkly at the Almeida Theatre. Ruth’s most recognised roles on television include playing Jane in Jane Eyre and Alice Morgan in the BBC’s Luther. Her film credits include Anna Karenina, The Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp and the forthcoming Disney film Saving Mr Banks with Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson.
Please visit www.theeltrain.com for further information and tickets.