Meera Syal heads Behind The Beautiful Forevers at National Theatre

Behiund The Beautiful Forevers
Behiund The Beautiful Forevers

Meera Syal is set to star in David Hare’s Behind The Beautiful Forevers, an uncompromising story of hope and dreams, that opens at the National Theatre next month.

Directed by Rufus Norris and based on the book by Katherine Boo, a staff writer at The New Yorker and a former reporter and editor for The Washington Post, the drama opens on the Olivier stage on November 18.

India is surging with global ambition. But beyond the luxury hotels surrounding Mumbai airport lies a makeshift slum, full of people with plans of their own.

Zehrunisa and her son Abdul aim to recycle enough rubbish to fund a proper house. Sunil, twelve and stunted, wants to eat until he’s as tall as Kalu the thief.

Asha seeks to steal government anti-poverty funds to turn herself into a ‘first-class person’, while her daughter Manju intends to become the slum’s first female graduate.

But their schemes are fragile; global recession threatens the garbage trade, and another slum dweller is about to make an accusation that will destroy herself and shatter the neighbourhood.

Katherine Boo spent three years in Annawadi recording the lives of its residents.

From her award-winning book David Hare has fashioned a tumultuous play on an epic scale.

David Hare has written 15 original plays for the National Theatre, including The Power of Yes, Stuff Happens, Skylight, The Secret Rapture, The Absence of War, Pravda (written with Howard Brenton) and Plenty.

Meera Syal’s theatre work includes Rafta, Rafta for the National Theatre, Much Ado About Nothing (RSC), The Killing of Sister George (West End) and Shirley Valentine (Menier Chocolate Factory).

Her television and film work includes Goodness Gracious Me, The Kumars, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, Absolutely Anything, Scoop and Anita and Me (from her own book).

In April Rufus Norris will become director of the National Theatre, where he has directed Table, The Amen Corner, London Road, Death and the King’s Horseman and Market Boy.

Behind The Beautiful Forevers will run in preview from November 10. The production runs in rep until April 13.

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