LONDON – The Exchange Theatre comes back to London this June with their tenth anniversary revival of Jean-Paul Sartre’s rebellious, political play The Flies. Sartre’s thriller re-imagines the Greek tragedy of Electra and Orestes, exploring the complexities of human values in a period of political turbulence. A company priding themselves in their international and multi-cultural heritage, Exchange Theatre’s The Flies will be performed in alternating French and English in tribute to Sartre’s roots, and the 1943 play’s origins as a political allegory.
Directed by David Furlong, Exchange Theatre’s multidisciplinary and multimedia production of The Flies returns in 2019, as topical and poignant as ever. Electra, Orestes, and their troubled family will be joined on stage by Mauritian band A Riot in Heaven, transforming this tragedy into a modern, tense and thrilling rock opera. As Orestes is hounded by Jupiter, god of flies and death, The Flies examines freedom, oppression and courage.
Taking the lead is French actress Meena Rayann as the downtrodden Electra, whileSamy Elkhatib will appear as vengeful brother Orestes, in his professional debut. Exchange Theatre co-founders, Mauritius-born French actor, David Furlong will play the tyrannical Aegisthus and Fanny Dulin, originally from Bordeaux, will perform both as the traitorous mother Clytemnestra and as a fate-led Fury. Also taking to the stage are Mozambique-born Swiss actor Raul Fernandes as the God of Flies, Belgian Juliet Dante as The Tutor, with Paris-born Jonathan Brandt as The Anonymous. Completing the Greek chorus as The Woman/Fury is Soraya Spiers and Chris Runciman as the High Priest/Fury.
Says Artistic Director David Furlong: “Some of the most interesting challenges have been raised in this casting process: how do we represent diversity, gender-parity, equity, and disability on stage? All of these questions, in keeping with the current public debates, are part of our responsibility. We’re also incredibly proud to be joined by amazing talents and recognisable faces. The diversity, high profiles and quality of the fully bilingual cast we’ve assembled this year is a testimony to Exchange Theatre establishing itself as a meaningful player.”
He concludes: “Exchange Theatre is celebrating ten years, successfully establishing itself with recognition, nominations, and a following, and becoming a charity this year. It is important now more than ever to work with ideas of multi-culturalism, languages, equality in casting, and holistic practice. As a French company in the UK producing a French play, it is important to have the mere presence of French philosophy during uncertainty around Brexit. The Flies is about fighting for liberty against misguided populist powers such as we are seeing in Europe and the Americas.”
The Flies plays from 11th June to 6th July 2019 at The Bunker, 53A Southwark Street London SE1 1RU. Tickets available here