Ralph Fiennes is Man and Superman at the National Theatre

Ralph Fiennes in Man And Superman. Photo Juergen Teller.
Ralph Fiennes in Man And Superman. Photo Juergen Teller.

Ralph Fiennes returns to the National Theatre in a new season launched this week.

Fiennes appears in Shaw’s Man and Superman at the Lyttelton Theatre, previewing from February 17 and running until May 17.

He plays Jack Tanner in Simon Godwin’s reinvention of Bernard Shaw’s witty and provocative classic.

The cast also includes Tim McMullan and Indira Varma (as Ann).

A romantic comedy, an epic fairytale, a fiery philosophical debate, Man and Superman asks fundamental questions about how we live.

Jack Tanner, celebrated radical thinker and rich bachelor, seems an unlikely choice as guardian to the alluring heiress, Ann.

But she takes it in her assured stride, and, despite the love of a poet, she decides to marry and tame this dazzling revolutionary.

Tanner, appalled by the whiff of domesticity, is tipped off by his chauffeur and flees to Spain, where he is captured by bandits and meets The Devil.

Hard Problem

Tom Stoppard is another returner with his first production in 12 years for the venue.

The Hard Problem, which is being called Stoppard’s science play, premieres at the Dorfman Theatre on January 28, directed by Nicholas Hytner in his last production as director of the NT.

The cast includes Vera Chok, Jonathan Coy, Damien Molony, Lucy Robinson, Parth Thakerar and Olivia Vinall (as Hilary).

Hilary, a young psychology researcher at a brainscience institute, is nursing a private sorrow and a troubling question at work, where psychology and biology meet.

If there is nothing but matter, what is consciousness? This is ‘the hard problem’ which puts Hilary at odds with her colleagues who include her first mentor Spike, her boss Leo and the billionaire founder of the institute, Jerry.

The Hard Problem is Tom Stoppard’s first play for the stage since Rock ’n’ Roll (Royal Court, 2006), and his first for the National since his trilogy, The Coast of Utopia, in 2002.

Dara

Other productions planned for the season includes Dara, adapted by Tanya Ronder from Shahid Nadeem’s play.

It opens in the Lyttelton Theatre on January 27. The cast includes Nathalie Armin, Rudi Dharmalingam, Vincent Ebrahim, Ranjit Krishnamma, Anjli Mohindra, Anneika Rose, Chook Sibtain and Anjana Vasan.

The drama is set in 1659 in Mughal India where the imperial court is a place of opulence and excess; music, drugs, eunuchs and harems.

Two brothers, whose mother’s death inspired the Taj Mahal, are heirs to this Muslim empire. Now they fight ferociously for succession.

Rules for living

Rules For Living is a new play by Sam Holcroft opening in the Dorfman Theatre in March.

Everyone creates their own coping strategies or rules for living. But what happens when an extended family gathers in the kitchen for a traditional Christmas and they each follow those rules, rigidly?

In Sam Holcroft’s theatrically playful, dark comedy the family does just that.

Public booking for Man and Superman, Dara and The Hard Problem opens on October 23, and for Rules for Living on November 26.

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