First Look: Rehearsal photos of TRUE WEST
Photographs by Marc Brenner
Kit Harington – renowned for his leading role in the internationally acclaimed series Game of Thrones – and Johnny Flynn – star of the widely celebrated film Beast and US TV series Genius, star in Sam Shepard’s ferociously funny, modern classic, True West, the first UK production of Shepard’s work since his death last summer.
True West will play a limited season at the Vaudeville Theatre from Friday 23 November – Saturday 23 February (Press Night: Tuesday 4 December at 7:00pm).
Madeleine Potter will play Mom – the mother of warring brothers Austin and Lee – and Donald Sage Mackay will take the role of Hollywood producer, Saul Kimmer. They will star opposite Kit Harington and Johnny Flynn as brothers Austin and Lee.
Two of the most challenging and sought after roles in modern drama, some of the greatest American and British actors of the last 30 years have played the brothers since the play’s debut in 1980.
Olivier-nominated Matthew Dunster (Hangmen, Love And Money) will direct True West. The creative team joining him includes Jon Bausor Set and Costume Design, Joshua Carr Lighting Design and Ian Dickinson Sound Design. As well as playing the role of Lee, Johnny Flynn will also compose original music for the production.
Austin is working on a movie script that he has sold to producer Saul Kimmer when Lee stumbles back in to his life. Never content to watch from the sidelines, he pitches his own idea to Kimmer, an action which has far reaching consequences…
Set against the searing heat of the Californian desert, Shepard’s critically acclaimed drama pits brother against brother as a family tears itself apart, exposing the cracks in the American Dream.
Madeleine Potter’s credits include An Ideal Husband (West End & Broadway), The Crucible (Broadway), All My Sons (National Theatre) and Pygmalion(Roundabout Theatre), whilst Donald Sage Mackay has recently received acclaim for his performance in Angry Alan ((Soho Theatre, Edinburgh Fringe), and whose credits also include A Moon for the Misbegotten (Lyric, Belfast and New York) and Linda (Manhattan Theatre Club).
Kit Harington has starred as Jon Snow since 2011 in the Emmy Award winning HBO drama series Game of Thrones. With 38 Emmy Awards, Game of Thrones is the most decorated show in the ceremony’s history. In 2016, Kit received his first Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.
Kit studied drama and theatre at the Central School of Speech & Drama. Before graduating in 2008, he won the lead role of Albert in the National Theatre’s London production of the smash hit War Horse. The production transferred to London’s West End at the New London Theatre, and he stayed with the role until 2009 after which he appeared in Posh, by Laura Wade, at the Royal Court Theatre. In 2016, Harington made his much‐anticipated West End return in the Jamie Lloyd directed production of Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, playing the title role.
In 2018, Harington transitioned into the role of Executive Producer on a miniseries titled Gunpowder. Harington played his real‐life ancestor on his mother’s side, Catholic rebel Robert Catesby who was part of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, the failed scheme by Roman Catholic militants to blow up the House of Lords in London. The series also starred Peter Mullan, Mark Gatiss and Liv Tyler.
His upcoming film projects include the English‐language film from French‐Canadian director Xavier Dolan, The Life and Death of John F Donovan. Past film projects include the HBO sports mockumentary 7 Days in Hell, Sony Pictures Classics drama Testament of Youth and the big‐screen adaptation of the hit British spy series Spooks: The Greater Good. He also lent his voice to the animated film How to Train Your Dragon 2 which won the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film in 2014 and received an Academy Award nomination.
Johnny Flynn is an actor, composer and songwriter. Johnny has worked extensively across film, television and theatre. He recently shot a lead role in ITV’s upcoming adaption of Vanity Fair. He most recently starred in Genius: Einstein (National Geographic) – as the young Albert Einstein to Geoffrey Rush’s older. Johnny plays leading role Dylan in Lovesick, the first two series of which are currently streaming on Netflix with a third on the way. Further television credits include Brotherhood (Big Talk/Comedy Central), The Nightmare World Of HG Wells (Clerkenwell Films) and Detectorists (Channel X/BBC4).
Johnny most recently played the protagonist Pascal in feature film Beast – which received critical acclaim at the Toronto Film Festival this year, previous to its premiere at the London Film Festival. He has also starred in Love Is Thicker Than Water, Clouds of Sils Maria opposite Kristin Stewart and Chloe Moretz, and Song One in which he co-starred with Anne Hathaway.
Johnny was nominated for ‘London Newcomer of the Year’ at the Whatsonstage Awards (2012) for his performance in The Heretic (Royal Court) and went on to gain his first Olivier Award nomination for Jerusalem (West End) that year. Further credits include The Low Road (The Royal Court), Richard III and Twelfth Night (Globe/West End). Johnny’s most recent theatre appearance was a starring role in Martin McDonagh’s hit Hangmen, originating at the Royal Court and later transferring to the West End. He was thrilled to have reprised his role of Mooney in this year’s transfer to New York.
He has released five albums to date with his band Johnny Flynn & The Sussex Wit, the most recent being Sillion (2017) which he is currently promoting.
Matthew Dunster is an Olivier-nominated director, a playwright and an actor, and Associate Director at Shakespeare’s Globe.
His directing credits include: The Secret Theatre, Much Ado About Nothing, Imogen, The Frontline, Troilus and Cressida, Dr Faustus and The Lightning Child (Shakespeare’s Globe), Hangmen (Wyndham’s Theatre & Royal Court, Atlantic Theater, New York), Liberian Girl (Royal Court), The Seagull, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Open Air Regent’s Park), Love’s Sacrifice (RSC), The Love Girl & the Innocent, You Can Still Make a Killing (Southwark Playhouse), Mametz (National Theatre Wales), Before the Party (Almeida), A Sacred Flame (English Touring), Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (Royal Exchange Manchester), Mogadishu (Royal Exchange Manchester and Lyric Hammersmith), The Most Incredible Thing (Sadler’s Wells), and The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Royal & Derngate, Northampton).
As a writer his credits include: Children’s Children (Almeida), You Can See the Hills (Royal Exchange Manchester/Young Vic) A Tale of Two Cities (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre) and his re-imagining of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Most Incredible Thing (Sadler’s Wells).
Sam Shepard’s first New York plays, Cowboys and The Rock Garden, were produced by Theatre Genesis in 1964. For several seasons, he worked with Off-Off-Broadway theatre groups including La MaMa and Caffe Cino. Eleven of his plays won Obie Awards, including Chicago, The Tooth of the Crime, and Curse of the Starving Class. Other award-winning plays include Fool for Love, True West, A Lie of the Mind, and Buried Child, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1979. In 1986, Shepard was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters and received the Gold Medal for Drama from the Academy in 1992. He was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame two years later. As a writer and director, he filmed Far North and Silent Tongue. As an actor, he appeared in numerous films, including The Right Stuff, Days of Heaven and Resurrection. His final works of prose, The One Inside and Spy of the First Person, were published in 2017, the year of his death.
True West is produced by Smith & Brant Theatricals and Empire Street Productions.