The RSC makes mischief with revival of David Edgar’s seminal Maydays

A new production of David Edgar’s award-winning political play, Maydays, has been announced by The Royal Shakespeare Company for the autumn Mischief Festival at The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon, this September.

In the 50th anniversary year of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy’s assassination, the student-worker uprising in Paris and the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, David Edgar’s powerful and timely play is being revived, directed by Owen Horsley.

First staged by the RSC at the Barbican theatre in 1983, the new production will be performed in the Studio Theatre at The Other Place.

Edgar’s award-winning, epic play, tells the story of the idealistic young who came of age in 1968 and were drawn into revolutionary politics.

For some, this commitment defined the rest of their lives. For others, the experience was one of disillusion and betrayal.

A story of defection from east to west as well as from left to right, Maydays tells the interlocking stories of a vicar’s son turned student radical, a young Communist who becomes a Conservative ideologue, a single mother and political activist, and a Soviet army officer who ends up as a dissident.

Fiercely topical when first premiered, Maydays is now relevant again, in a new age of radical leftism and global politics providing startling parallels to the political revolution of the Millennial Generation.

Alongside Maydays, for three performances only, Edgar will perform in an autobiographical one man show called Trying It On, directed by Christopher Haydon.

David Edgar’s monologue relates the events of 1968 to the turmoil of today and serves as a companion piece.

Aged 20 in 1968, Edgar was caught up in the student revolt of the time, which defined his politics and gave focus to his playwriting.

Now he confronts, and is confronted by, his 70-year-old self today. Do they still share the same beliefs? Has the world changed, or has he? Why did his generation – supposedly so radical in its youth – vote Brexit? Has he sold in or sold out?

In his 70th birthday year Edgar sees a number of revivals of his work. As well as Maydays and Trying It On, there has been a revival of his adaptations of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

Maydays runs in the Studio theatre, The Other Place, from September 27 to October 20 and Trying It On runs from October 18-20.

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