Casting announced for the European premiere of the hit Off-Broadway play The Niceties by Eleanor Burgess, opening at the Finborough Theatre for a strictly limited four-week season on Tuesday, 1 October 2019
The Niceties stars double Olivier award winner Janie Dee alongside Moronkẹ Akinola who makes her professional stage debut
“You’re more afraid of looking like a racist than you are of being a racist.
Don’t you want to think about that?”
At an elite East Coast university, an ambitious young black student and her esteemed white professor meet to discuss a paper the college junior is writing about the American Revolution. They’re both liberal. They’re both women. They’re both brilliant. But very quickly, discussions of grammar and Google turn to race and reputation, and before they know it, they’re in dangerous territory neither of them had foreseen – exposing dangerous divides that turn a private debate into a public war.
The Niceties is a complex and compelling depiction of racial and generational divides which speaks directly to our polarised, post-truth era, as it asks who gets to tell the story of America, and how.
Originally premiered at the Huntington Theatre, Boston, before transferring to Manhattan Theatre Club, New York City, The Niceties marks the European debut of a dazzling new American playwright, Eleanor Burgess.
Janie Dee says: “When I read The Niceties, I felt a blast of fear go through me. It affected me and it left me thinking. Eleanor has written a fresh, intelligent play which captures the voice and tone of today’s university student and graduate generation so precisely. I have always wanted to work at the Finborough and I'm really excited to be bringing Eleanor's incredible writing into an intimate space where there's nowhere to hide.”
Moronkẹ Akinola plays Zoe. She trained at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Theatre whilst training includes The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Wonder Boy, The Dissociation of Shirley Mason, The Railway Children, The Mill on the Floss, 19th Floor, The Flora Sandes, Beowulf, Philistines, A View from the Bridge, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Importance of Being Earnest, Twelfth Night and Lungs. This is Moronkẹ’s professional stage debut.
Janie Dee plays Janine. Theatre includes Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Ustinov Studio, Bath), Passion (Cantiere Internazionale d'Arte), Follies, Women of Troy, Johnny on a Spot, Carousel for which she won the Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical (National Theatre), Moonlight, Night School (Harold Pinter Theatre), Monogamy (Park Theatre), Linda (Manhattan Theatre Club), Hand to God (Vaudeville Theatre), The Seagull, Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet (Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park), Ah, Wilderness! (The Young Vic), 84 Charing Cross Road (Salisbury Playhouse), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare's Globe International Tour), Blithe Spirit (Gielgud Theatre), Putting it Together (St. James Theatre), Hello Dolly!, The King and I (The Curve, Leicester), NSFW (Royal Court Theatre), Noises Off (The Old Vic and Novello Theatre), All’s Well That Ends Well (Shakespeare's Globe), Private Lives (Nottingham Playhouse), The Little Hut (National Tour), Calendar Girls (Noël Coward Theatre), Woman in Mind (Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough), Shadowlands (Wyndham's Theatre), Mack and Mabel (Criterion Theatre and National Tour), Donkey’s Years (Comedy Theatre), Celebration, Old Times (Gate Theatre, Dublin), The Apple Cart, Old Times, Much Ado About Nothing, Design for Living (Theatre Royal Bath), Betrayal (Duchess Theatre and Theatre Royal Bath), Diva at the Donmar (Donmar Warehouse), A Month in the Country, Three Sisters (Chichester Festival Theatre), My One and Only (Piccadilly Theatre and Chichester Festival Theatre), Paradise Moscow (Opera North), Comic Potential for she won the Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Play (Lyric Theatre and Manhattan Theatre Club) and The Shakespeare Revue (Royal Shakespeare Company). Film includes Official Secrets, Dare to be Wild, Me and Orson Welles, The Trouble with Dot and Harry, The Driving Seat and Celebration. Television includes Chimerica, Crashing, Harold Pinter: A Celebration, The Murder Room, Death in Holy Orders, Midsomer Murders, House of Cards, Heartbeat and London’s Burning.
Playwright Eleanor Burgess has had work produced at Manhattan Theatre Club, McCarter Theatre Center, Huntington Theatre Company, the Alliance Theatre, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, the Contemporary American Theatre Festival, Portland Stage Company, and Centenary Stage, and developed with The New Group, New York Theatre Workshop, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Salt Lake Acting Company, the Lark Play Development Center, and the Kennedy Center/NNPN MFA Playwrights Workshop. She has been a member of Page 73's writers' group Interstate 73 and The Civilians’ R&D Group, and the recipient of the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Award, an EST/Sloan commission, a Huntington Playwriting Fellowship, a Keen Teens Commission, and the Susan Glaspell Award for Women Playwrights. She grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts, studied history at Yale College, and recently completed the M.F.A in Dramatic Writing at NYU/Tisch.
Director Matthew Iliffe returns to the Finborough Theatre following his acclaimed production of Lionel Bart and Alun Owen’s musical Maggie May this spring, and Colleen Murphy’s new play Geography of Fire/La Furie et sa Géographie as part of Vibrant 2019 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights. He previously directed the European premiere of The Burnt Part Boys which was nominated for the OffWestEnd Award for Best Director and Best Musical Production (Park Theatre) and Precious Little Talent (The Albany). Matthew graduated from the University of Bristol with a first-class honours degree in Theatre and Performance Studies, and trained on the StoneCrabs Young Directors Programme, in association with The Albany. He has served as an assistant director for National Youth Music Theatre and Insane Root Theatre Company.
THE NICETIES | Tuesday 1 – Saturday 26 October 2019
Schedule: Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm. Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 3pm. Additional matinees on Thursday 3 and 24. No performances on Sundays and on Friday 4, Saturday 5 and Friday 25.
Tickets: £10 - £25 | Box Office 01223 357851 www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk
Address: Finborough Theatre. 118 Finborough Road, London SW10 9ED.