Alexi Kaye Campbell

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Plays by Alexi Kaye Campbell

Apologia

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Alexi Kaye Campbell's second play, Apologia presents a disastrous family reunion as the occasion for a critical look at what has happened to 60s idealists and their children. It was first performed at the Bush Theatre, London, on 17 June 2009.

Kristin Miller is an eminent and successful art historian in her sixties. As a young mother she followed her politics and vocation, storming Parisian barricades and moving to Florence. Now she has written a book about her life – a book that fails to mention her two children, Peter and Simon. So when her sons and their partners, Trudi and Claire, gather at Kristin's cottage in the countryside to celebrate her birthday, she finds herself ambushed by their very different versions of the past. Over the course of the evening, everyone must confront the cost of Kristin’s commitment to her passions.

The Bush Theatre premiere was directed by Josie Rourke with Paolo Dionisotti as Kristin, Tom Beard as Peter, John Light as Simon, Sarah Goldberg as Trudi, Nina Sosanya as Claire and Philip Voss as Hugh, an old friend of Kristin's.

The play was well received by the critics, with several remarking on how it built on the promise of Campbell's previous play, The Pride. Charles Spencer in The Daily Telegraph wrote that Campbell was 'fast emerging as a dramatist of rare distinction', while Henry Hitchings in The Evening Standard concluded that the play 'confirms his standing as a fresh and sensitive voice'.

Bracken Moor

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Alexi Kaye Campbell's Bracken Moor is a boldly theatrical tale of two families haunted by grief, set against the economic troubles of the 1930s. It was first performed at the Tricycle Theatre, London, on 6 June 2013 in a co-production between the Tricycle and Shared Experience.

The play's action takes place in the Yorkshire house of Harold Pritchard, a ruthlessly pragmatic mine owner, in the winter of 1937. Harold and his wife Elizabeth are playing host to their old London friends, Geoffrey and Vanessa Avery, whom they haven't seen for ten years. The reason for the long gap is that Elizabeth withdrew from life after the death of her 12-year-old son, Edgar, who fell down a disused mine shaft. All the old memories come to the surface when the Averys' 22-year-old son, Terence, appears to be possessed by the spirit of the dead boy, with whom he enjoyed an intense relationship.

The Tricycle Theatre premiere was directed by Polly Teale, artistic director of Shared Experience, with a cast including Daniel Flynn as Harold Pritchard, Helen Schlesinger as Elizabeth Pritchard, Joseph Timms as Terence, Simon Shepherd as Geoffrey Avery and Sarah Woodward as Vanessa Avery.

The Faith Machine

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

The Faith Machine, Alexi Kaye Campbell's third play after The Pride and Apologia, is about the conflict between faith and the free market in the modern world. It was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs on 25 August 2011.

The play begins in New York in September 2001. Sophie, an idealistic Englishwoman, presents her American lover, Tom, with a moral choice: she will dump him unless he abandons a massive advertising account he has secured with a pharmaceutical company that has used Ugandan children as a laboratory experiment. The play then jumps back to 1998: Tom and Sophie are visiting her father, Edward, on the Greek island of Patmos where another moral drama is being played out. Edward, an Anglican bishop, is under pressure from a Kenyan cleric not to quit the church over its inflexible attitude to homosexuality. The plot continues to jump forward and back in time as we witness Edward’s declining health and the path of Sophie and Tom’s turbulent relationship.

The Royal Court premiere was directed by Jamie Lloyd and designed by Mark Thompson, with Hayley Atwell as Sophie, Ian McDiarmid as Edward and Kyle Soller as Tom.

Critical reception to the play was mixed. Michael Billington in The Guardian admired its 'expansive ambition and largeness of spirit', although he found it 'occasionally meanders'. Charles Spencer in The Daily Telegraph remarked that the play is 'blessed with a palpable generosity of spirit and many moments of sly humour', though concluded that 'Campbell is a better dramatist when he keeps his canvas smaller'.

The Pride

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Alexi Kaye Campbell's debut play, The Pride examines changing attitudes to sexuality between the late 1950s and the first decade of the subsequent millennium. It was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs on 21 November 2008.

The action of the play is set in two time periods, 1958 and 2008, which interrelate in several ways, most obviously through the characters: in each period there is an Oliver, a Philip and a Sylvia, all in their mid-thirties, and each played by the same actor in both periods.

The 1958 Philip is a well-heeled estate agent married to Sylvia, a children’s writer. However, when Sylvia invites her illustrator, Oliver, over for dinner there is an immediate attraction between the two men. Philip is both drawn to and repelled by Oliver’s advances, aware that his whole identity may be at stake should his true feelings be known. In 2008, the names are the same but Philip and Oliver are this time in a relationship, which has been damaged by Oliver’s addiction to anonymous sex. Sylvia is the friend to whom they turn for comfort.

The Royal Court premiere was directed by Jamie Lloyd, with JJ Feild as Philip, Bertie Carvel as Oliver, Lyndsey Marshal as Sylvia and the remaining parts played by Tim Steed. The designer was Soutra Gilmour. It won an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre. The play won the John Whiting Award in 2009 and Alexi Kaye Campbell won the Critics’ Circle Award for Most Promising Playwright.

The Pride received its American premiere at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, produced by MCC Theater, on 27 January 2010 in a production directed by Joe Mantello, with Hugh Dancy as Philip, Ben Whishaw as Oliver, Andrea Riseborough as Sylvia and the remaining parts played by Adam James.

The play was revived at the Sheffield Crucible Studio in June 2011 in a production directed by Richard Wilson. It was again revived at the Trafalgar Studios in the West End in August 2013, in a production also directed by Jamie Lloyd and designed by Soutra Gilmour.

Sunset at the Villa Thalia

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Alexi Kaye Campbell's play Sunset at the Villa Thalia explores the impact of foreign influence, planned and unintentional, on the Greek nation and its people over the course of a decade between 1967 and 1976. It was first performed in the Dorfman auditorium of the National Theatre, London, on 1 June 2016 (previews from 25 May).

The play takes place entirely on the terrace of a small house on the Greek island of Skiathos, in two different time periods: April 1967 and August 1976. As the play opens, in April 1967, Greece is in political turmoil. An English couple in their thirties, Charlotte and Theo, have retreated to the island in search of peace and inspiration. But when they meet a charismatic American couple, Harvey and June, at the port, they are seduced into buying a cottage on the island at a knockdown price, and effectively disinherit the Greek owners. Their actions are to have devastating consequences.

The National Theatre premiere was directed by Simon Godwin and designed by Hildegard Bechtler. It was performed by Sam Crane, Pippa Nixon, Ben Miles, Elizabeth McGovern, Glykeria Dimou, Christos Callow, Thomas Berry, Billy Marlow,

Ethan Rouse, Sophia Ally, Dixie Egerickx, Scarlett Nunes and Eve Polycarpou.

Picture of Alexi Kaye Campbell

© Johan Persson

Alexi Kaye Campbell’s debut play The Pride premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 2008, and received the Critics’ Circle Award for Most Promising Playwright. The play received its American premiere at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, New York, in 2010, and was revived at the Trafalgar Studios in London’s West End in 2013.

His other plays include Apologia (Bush Theatre, 2009), The Faith Machine (Royal Court Theatre, 2011) and Bracken Moor (Shared Experience at the Tricycle Theatre, 2013).