It's official: Ralph Fiennes will star in David Hare's one-man stage play Beat the Devil. The play, which charts Hare's experience contracting COVID-19 and his recovery from it, is slated to premiere at the Bridge Theatre in London on August 27th and run till October 31st. Nicholas Hytner is the director. That's if the UK government's guidelines allow for theatres to open for indoor performances with strict socially-distanced audiences. If plans change and the re-opening is delayed, or if another lockdown occurs, the Bridge will automatically refund ticket purchases.
In the statement released by Bridge Theatre management, the company said, "We are hoping that we will get the green light to open with a reduced capacity of 250 seats and stringent safety measures, and we are inviting audiences from today to book seats with the assurance that, of course, if the season is delayed there will be automatic refunds for any performances that can't go ahead."
Hare's play Beat the Devil is a one-man show about the playwright's own experience contracting the coronavirus and the politics surrounding the pandemic. He caught it while in postproduction editing his upcoming BBC political thriller Roadkill, which stars Hugh Laurie.
As the official synopsis for Beat the Devil reads:
"Covid-19 seems to be a sort of dirty bomb, thrown into the body to cause havoc.
On the same day that the UK government finally made the first of two decisive interventions that led to a conspicuously late lockdown, David Hare contracted Covid-19. Nobody seemed to know much about it then, and many doctors are not altogether sure they know much more today. Suffering a pageant of apparently random symptoms, Hare recalls the delirium of his illness, which mixed with fear, dream, honest medicine and dishonest politics to create a monologue of furious urgency and power."
Beat the Devil will kick off a series of other one-person plays to be performed in repertory at the Bridge, including Alan Bennett's Talking Heads, Inua Ellams' An Evening with an Immigrant, Yolanda Mercy's Quarter Life Crisis and Zodwa Nyoni's Nine Lives.
Tickets can be booked via the Bridge Theatre's website.