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Mrs Klein (1988)

Mrs Klein

A play by Nicholas Wright, performed at the Cottesloe, National Theatre, London: 10 August - 30 November 1988; transferred to the Apollo Theatre, London: 6 December 1988 - 22 April 1989.

Performance length: 2 hours (including interval)


Photos


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With thanks to ZoŽ and Nadine for some of these photos.

Overview

The brilliant and, at times, controversial Austrian child psychoanalyst Melanie Klein is the subject of Nicholas Wright's play. 

In 1934, as the play opens, Klein is preparing to travel from her adopted home of London to the funeral of her only son, Hans, in Budapest.  The circumstances surrounding his death are unclear. 

Divorced from her husband and estranged from her daughter, Melitta, Klein confides in one of her most ardent supporters, Paula.  When Melitta visits them, the tensions between the trio come to the surface.  Both Melitta and Paula are also involved in psychoanalysis; the former is firmly opposed to many of her mother's opinions, while the latter is keen to be seen as a substitute daughter and follower. 

Despite her insights into child psychology, Klein struggles with motherhood.  Her professional success comes at a very personal price.

Cast

Melanie Klein ... Gillian Barge
Melitta Schmideberg, Klein's daughter ... Francesca Annis
Paula Heimann ... ZoŽ Wanamaker

Crew

At the Cottesloe
Director: Peter Gill
Settings: John Gunter
Costume Designer: Stephen Brimson-Lewis
Music Supervisor: Terry Davies
Lighting Designer: Mark Seaman
Production Manager: John Claus
Stage Manager: Angela Fairclough
Deputy Stage Manager: Paul Quinn
Assistant Stage Manager: Valerie Fox
Assistant to the Designer: Simon Basketter
Sound Designer: Nic Jones
Assistant to the Lighting Designer: Linda Clayton
Costume Supervisor: Stephanie Baird
Musicians: Gabriel Amherst (Musical Director/cello), Patrick Kiernan (violin), Julia Singleton (violin), and Rebecca Wexler (viola)
Production Photographer: ZoŽ Dominic

At the Apollo
Director: Peter Gill
Settings: John Gunter
Costume Designer: Stephen Brimson-Lewis
Lighting Designer: Mark Seaman
Music Supervisor: Terry Davies
Sound Designer: Nic Jones
General Manager: Brian Kirk
Production Manager: John Claus
Company and Stage Manager: Darinka Nenadovic
Deputy Stage Manager: Paul Lorenz
Assistant Stage Manager: Andrew Eastcott
Design Assistant: Simon Basketter
Production Sound: David E. Smith
Costume Supervisor: Stephanie Baird
Production Electrician: Linda Clayton
Wardrobe Supervisor: Elizabeth Moczarski
Wig Dresser: Alexandra Cawdron
Dresser: Alexandra Mitchell
Musicians: Gabriel Amherst (Musical Director/cello), Patrick Kiernan (violin), Julia Singleton (violin), and Rebecca Wexler (viola)
Production Photographer: ZoŽ Dominic

Notes

The research Zoe undertook for her role in Mrs Klein included listening to the British Psychoanalytical Society's taped conversations with the real Paula Heimann.  Zoe's efforts were rewarded when her performance received an Olivier Award nomination.

Not only was this the premiere production of Mrs Klein, it was also the first play to transfer from the National Theatre's Cottesloe to a West End theatre.

Mrs Klein is among Zoe's many productions as a member of the National Theatre Company.  She has also appeared in The Importance of Being Earnest (1982), The Bay at Nice and Wrecked Eggs (1986), The Crucible (1990), Battle Royal (1999), His Girl Friday (2003), The Rose Tattoo (2007), and Much Ado About Nothing (2007). 

ZoŽ has worked with four out of the five artistic directors at the National to date (i.e. Peter Hall, Richard Eyre, Trevor Nunn, and Nicholas Hytner).  Strong ties with the company have led to her becoming a National Theatre Associate, giving her the power to influence the theatre's artistic policy.

Several years after Mrs Klein, Zoe starred in another production with an all-female cast of three: Boston Marriage (2001).

Merchandise

Mrs Klein by Nicholas Wright

Related links

Photo of the Apollo theatre during Mrs Klein's run - Flickr

Mrs Klein essay and production information - Director Peter Gill's website

Mrs Klein production information - Music supervisor Terry Davies's website


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