Sophie’s Choice

NIGHTSONGS by Jon Fosse, and FACE TO THE WALL (England) by Martin Crimp, directed by Katie Mitchell, with Jonathan Cullen,.


NIGHTSONGS by Jon Fosse, and FACE TO THE WALL (England) by Martin Crimp, directed by Katie Mitchell, with Jonathan Cullen, Gillian Hanna, Paul Higgins, Sophie Okonedo, Christopher Saul and Peter Wight. Presented by the Royal Court at the du Maurier Theatre Centre. Opens Wednesday (April 3) and runs to April 7, Wednesday-Saturday 8 pm, matinees Saturday-Sunday 2 pm.

Rating: NNNNN

i catch sophie okonedo on her cellphone as she’s driving to the theatre. She doesn’t have much time.But she pulls her car to the side of the road to talk about Norwegian playwright Jon Fosse’s Nightsongs, which opened last month in London. The show, which brings her from England with the Royal Court Theatre’s production, kicks off this year’s World Stage Preview.

The play and its brief companion piece, Martin Crimp’s Face To The Wall, are directed by Katie Mitchell, whose version of The Oresteia was a World Stage hit two years ago.

Mitchell established the production’s rules — no set, no props or furniture except those found on-site, no fixed blocking for the actors, and the lights and sound change each performance as the situation dictates.

“This is my preferred way of working,” says a breathless Okonedo against the dull traffic roar.

Okonedo plays the anonymously named Young Woman, caught between the never-ending demands of a newborn and of her husband, a writer afraid to leave their apartment.

“I only like to set the character’s objectives, what she needs and wants. How they’re achieved each night is different. Nobody can go on autopilot.

“Oops — a traffic warden is looking at me. I better move the car.”

And she’s off.

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