CHARLIE CONDOU, KAMARI ROMEO AND KIM TATUM STAR IN UK PREMIERE OF STRAIGHT WHITE MEN BY YOUNG JEAN LEE
Directed by Steven Kunis
Produced by David Adkin and Panorama Productions
Southwark Playhouse, The Little, 27 May to 20 June
STRAIGHT WHITE MEN by Korean American playwright Young Jean Lee is a hilarious and revealing play about the most unoppressed of this world’s peoples.
They are feared, envied, occasionally attacked and derided. But pitied? When personal identity is essential and privilege is a problem, what is a straight white man to do?
Young Jean Lee – called ‘hands down, the most adventurous playwright of her generation’ by the New York Times – is a playwright whose work revels in subverting stereotypes. STRAIGHT WHITE MEN takes place over the Christmas holidays, when three brothers assemble at the family home, to celebrate the season with their widowed father. The youngest, Drew, is an award-winning fiction writer. The middle boy, Jake is a hotshot banker, but the oldest, Matt, PLAYED BY Charlie Condou, is burdened by student debt and an unexplained failure to thrive.
Games are played. Chinese food is ordered. Brotherly pranks and trashtalk distract them from the issue that threatens to ruin the testosterone-fuelled, boys-will-be-boys celebration. In this raucous, surprising and fearless work, Lee takes an outside look at the traditional father/son narrative, shedding new light on that theatrical storyline we have come to know all too well.
But, and here is the twist, the people in charge of proceedings are neither white, nor straight, nor male…
Charlie Condou is an actor, columnist and LGBTQ+ rights activist best known for playing Marcus Dent in the ITV soap opera Coronation Street and Ben Sherwood in the BBC hospital drama Holby City. Theatre credits include: The Crucible (Sell A Door), Next Fall (Southwark Playhouse), Dying for It (The Almeida Theatre), The Changeling (Southwark Playhouse), Shopping & F***ing (No 1. Tour), Cracked (Hampstead Theatre) and After The Rain (Gate Theatre).
TV credits include: ‘Holby City’, ‘Unforgotten’, ‘Apocalype Slough’, ‘Coronation Street’, ‘The Impressionists’ and ‘Nathan Barley’ amongst others.Film credits include: ‘Good’, ‘Fred Claus’, ‘Charlotte Gray’, ‘Dead Babies’, ‘Sideswipe’, ‘Judge Dredd’, ’La Bas’ and ‘To Kill A Priest’.
Charlie says: “I’m really pleased to be working on the fantastic “Straight White Men”. I feel like masculinity is in a bit of a crisis at the moment and this play explores the effects of white male privilege in a beautifully delicate way”.
Also in the cast are Kamari Romeo and Kim Tatum. Kamari Romeo has worked extensively in immersive and experimental theatre. He made his screen debut in ‘Silent Witness’this year and his recent theatre credits include: Summer In London (Theatre Royal Stratford East), The Bear/The Proposal (Young Vic) and Elemental (Bush Theatre). Kim Tatum is the director and founder of Mzz Kimberley’s Life, highlighting trans performers. Her recent theatre credits include: Closets The Musical (Hope Mill Theatre) and Summer in London (Theatre Royal Stratford East). She has also appeared in EastEnders and Cold Feet. She is a regular on the main stage for London Gay Pride and is Patron of CliniQ.
Young Jean Lee has been hailed as ‘one of the best experimental playwrights in America’ by Time Out New York. She has written and directed nine shows in New York and has toured her work to over thirty cities around the world. Lee is currently under commission from Plan B/Paramount Pictures, Lincoln Center Theater, Playwrights Horizons, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Lee is the recipient of two OBIE Awards, the Festival Prize of the Zürcher Theater Spektakel, a 2010 Prize in Literature from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, a 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship and a Doris Duke Award.
Steven Kunis is Greek-American director for theatre and opera, currently based in London. He is the founding artistic director of Panorama Productions, a new company committed to international collaboration through the arts of theatre and music. His credits include: Refugee Orchestra Project UK Launch (LSO St Luke’s); Afterglow (Waterloo East Theatre); #Mr Simon Said (Tristan Bates Theatre) and The Demon (Cutler Majestic Theatre, Boston). Steven has received several recognitions for his theatrical work, including a nomination for Best Director at the Off West End Theatre Awards.
Choreography is by Annie-Lunnette Deakin-Foster whose recent work includes:
The Bee in Me by Ronald Schimmelpfennig dir. by Rachel Bagshaw; You Stupid Darkness by Sam Steiner dir. James Grieve at Southwark Playhouse; The Last Noel by Chris Bush dir. by Jonathan Humphries; Pavilion by Emily White dir. by Tamara Harvey at Theatr Clwyd and Chiaroscuro by Jackie Kay dir. by Lynette Linton at The Bush.
Set and costume design is by Suzu Sakai. Recent productions include: Bakersfield Mist (New Century Theater); Metamorphoses (Smith College); Alexander’s Feast (Harvard Early Music Society); The Imperial Express (Beijing Millennium Monument) and productions at the Fresh Fruits Festival and the Thespis Theater Festival.
Lighting Design is by Jose Tevar who has recently designed The High Table and Chiaroscuro (The Bush Theatre). Other work includes productions for National Dance Company Wales, Middle Child and Lost in Translation Circus.
Casting is by Lucy Casson. Further casting will be announced shortly.
Southwark Playhouse, 77-85 Newington Causeway, London, SE1 6BD
Dates: 27 May to 20 June
Monday – Saturday 20:00, matinees Tuesdays and Saturdays at 15:30
Previews from Wednesday 27 May
£14 previews / £22 standard / £18 concessions / £7-£12 PAYG members