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National Theatre

New Play about Early Hollywood
Features Award-Winning Antony Sher

Antony Sher returns to the National to play Jacob in Traveling Light, a new play by Nicholas Wright, directed by Nicholas Hytner in the Lyttelton Theatre where it opens Jan. 18. The production will also tour Great Britain and will be broadcast as part of National Theatre Live on Feb. 9.

This is one of three new productions the National Theatre is mounting in the winter. The others are Errol John's Moon on a Rainbow Shawl directed by Michael Buffong in the Cottesloe and Oliver Goldsmith's She Stoops to Conquer directed by Jamie Lloyd in the Olivier.

Traveling Light is a funny and fascinating tribute to the Eastern European immigrants who became major players in Hollywood's golden age. In a remote village in Eastern Europe, around 1900, the young Motl Mendl is entranced by the flickering silent images on his father's cinematograph. Bankrolled by Jacob, the ebullient local timber merchant, and inspired by Anna, the girl sent to help him make moving pictures of their village, he stumbles on a revolutionary way of story-telling. Forty years on, Motl, now a famed American film director, looks back on his early life and confronts the cost of fulfilling his dreams.

Antony Sher last appeared at the National in his own adaptation of Primo Levi's If this is a Man, Primo, which transferred to New York and for which he won the Outer Critics' Circle and Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Solo Performance; the production was also filmed and he received a BAFTA nomination for Best Actor. His extensive stage credits also include, most recently, Arthur Miller's Broken Glass in the West End, Tomas Stockmann in An Enemy of the People (Sheffield Crucible) and the title role in Kean (West End). His many leading roles for the Royal Shakespeare Company include Prospero, Iago, Macbeth, Leontes, Cyrano de Bergerac, Shylock, Tamburlaine, and Richard III for which he won the Evening Standard and Olivier Awards for Best Actor (this performance also earned a spot on the Top 40). His previous NT appearances include Stanley (Olivier Award for Best Actor), Titus Andronicus, Uncle Vanya, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, The Trial and True West. His many screen credits include Disraeli in Mrs Brown (Evening Standard Film Awards: Peter Sellers Award for Comedy), Hitler in Churchill: The Hollywood Years, and Gerald Ballantyne in Home. A distinguished writer, novelist and artist, Antony Sher received a knighthood in 2000.

November 13, 2011

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