Tanya Ronder's play Table is an epic tale of belonging, identity and the things we pass on. It was the first play to be performed in The Shed, a temporary venue at the National Theatre, London, and was first performed there on 12 April 2013 (previews from 9 April).
The play's action takes place in four distinct time frames: Lichfield 1898–1946, Tanganyika 1950–1957, Herefordshire 1964–1981 and South London 2013. Its central, structuring device – a hand-crafted table, made by Staffordshire craftsman David Best to celebrate his marriage – links the multiple plot strands, as the table is handed down from generation to generation of the Best family. In Tanganyika in the 1950s, the Bests' missionary grand-daughter, Sarah, stands atop the table and voluntarily disrobes in front of the hunter who has saved her from attack by a leopard. Later, Sarah and her son Gideon join a 1960s Herefordshire commune. And in south London in 2013, the globe-trotting Gideon finally confronts the family he abandoned and now belatedly pines for.
The National Theatre premiere was directed by Rufus Norris and designed by Katrina Lindsay. It was performed by Daniel Cerqueira, Rosalie Craig, Jonathan Cullen, Paul Hilton, Penny Layden, Sarah Niles, Maggie Service, Michael Shaeffer and Sophie Wu.