Taking Sides & Collaboration by Harwood in repertoire at Duchess from 20 May 2009

Taking Sides & Collaboration by Harwood in repertoire at Duchess from 20 May 2009

The Chichester Festival productions of Ronald Harwood's plays Taking Sides and Collaboration will transfer to the West End's Duchess Theatre to be performed in repertoire opening 27 May 2009, following previews from 20 May 2009 - booking to 29 Aug 2009.

(Before its Duchess run, the plays will run at the Minerva Theatre, Chichester 28 April - 16 May 2009)

Michael Pennington plays both 'Wilhelm Furtwangler' in Taking Sides and 'Richard Strauss' in Collaboration. David Horovitch plays both 'Major Arnold' in Taking Sides and 'Stefan Zweig' in "Collaboration".

Both plays are directed by Philip Franks, designed by Simon Higlett, lighting by Mark Jonathan.

They are produced in the West End by Chichester Festival / Nica Burns and Max Weitzenhoffer for Nimax Theatres, and Duncan Weldon.

In "TAKING SIDES": Conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler, prized by Hitler as the cultural jewel in the crown of the Third Reich, became the perfect post-war target for interrogation as a Nazi sympathiser. Major Steve Arnold, who has witnessed the horrors of Belsen, is about to cross-examine him.

In "COLLABORATION": The play opens in 1931 in a spirit of optimism as composer Richard Strauss and writer Stephan Zweig embark on an invigorating artistic partnership. But Zweig is a Jew and the Nazis are on the march. Is it possible to keep artistic aspiration and political action separate? How fine is the line between collaboration and betrayal?

Ronald Harwood said "It is no exaggeration to say that one of the great highlights of my professional life was to learn that Taking Sides and Collaboration were transferring from Chichester to the Duchess Theatre, London. Of all West End playhouses, the Duchess is one of the very few theatres able to hold audience and actors in an intimate embrace. It is, I believe, the ideal home for these plays which deal with the conflict between art and politics and the agonizing personal and moral choices that had to be faced by the protagonists. But those choices have still to be made by us, now, and the question how would we have behaved lies at the heart of both plays".

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