The UK premiere of Theresa Rebeck’s The Understudy, originally a smash Off-Broadway hit, will be coming to the Canal Café Theatre from the 21st February to 11th March 2017 as part of their American season.
Transforming the theatre to the round for the first time, The Understudy dissects the backstage friction of a frenzied understudy rehearsal of a long lost Kafka play about to be staged on Broadway. Charged with running the rehearsal, Roxanne finds her professional and personal lives colliding when Harry, a jobbing actor, is cast as understudy to Jake, a mid-level action star yearning for legitimacy.
Three characters give us a behind the scenes look at the other guys involved in a broadway production. Two males and one female express their frustration with the process and each other. Both male actors are understudy to the main actor in the Kafka play. This person just happens to be a movie star named Bruce, who makes 22 millions a film.
The play lands at the Canal Cafe Theatre is a 60-seat fringe theatre venue in Little Venice, London, specialises in comedy performances. The Understudy it’s self is a great lesson in economics regarding commerce over art. The female is the stage manager running an understudy rehearsal and she has personal connection to both actors. What really makes this play zip is the creative process of putting on a play and it realistically shows how much hard work goes into it. It’s an unglamorous process made worse if everyone isn’t on the same page. This is demonstrated by the tech operator consistently missing or messing up cues. Rebeck’s play is a comedy that’s tempered with personal strife and the twilight Zone bleakness of Kafka thrown in. It’s the odd, personal moments that make this play hilarious and also uncomfortable. That makes it a funny and endearing play.
The Understudy is a dazzling and humanistic look at people trying to do what they love in the face of never-ending obstacles.
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