Janet Suzman as Rose in Rose, by Martin Sherman, directed by Richard Beecham. HOME Manchester, 25 May – 10 June 2017 (photo by Simon Annand)
Until Saturday 10th May, 2017
In late 2016, Glenda Jackson famously made headlines when she returned to the stage to play the title role in the The Old Vic’s bold new revival of King Lear, following a 23-absence. Though not quite as lengthy a break, HOME’s latest production, a rare revival of Martin Sherman’s Rose, now sees another celebrated thespian, Dame Janet Suzman, treading the boards for the first time in a decade, delivering a heartbreaking and mesmerising performance in Sherman’s complex one-woman drama.
Originally staged in the National Theatre’s intimate Cottesloe Theatre (now the Dorfman Theatre) back in May 1999, starring Olympia Dukakis, the play introduces us to the eponymous Jewish octogenarian, who, during the course of the following two and a half hours, eloquently chronicles her poignant and tumultuous life story from her home in Miami, Florida; a life haunted and defined by her experiences through some of the most devastating events of the Twentieth Century.
Though there are moments of humour and whimsy scattered throughout, Sherman never loses sight of his central aim, and throughout its duration, Rose presents an impassioned and deeply profound exploration of the fate of the Jewish population during the last century, from the Eastern European shtetls, through to Nazi-occupied Warsaw, the concentration camps, Israel, Palestine and the Occupied Territories. Given the world’s current refugee crisis, Sherman’s play feels as relevant and timely as ever.
Sitting shiva for much of the play, and delivering the tale in memoir form, directly to the audience, Suzman proves quite remarkable in the hugely challenging role, demonstrating such experience, emotional depth and understanding of text and character that is a real thrill to witness. With a weary look and slight crack in the voice, she can still take us from playful and mischievous to harrowing and painful in the blink of an eye. Simply put, it is a performance not to be missed.
Collaborating with set designer, Simon Kenny, lighting designer, Chris Davey, and sound designer, Adrienne Quartley, director Richard Beecham’s delicately staged production is proof that a minimalistic approach is all that is required to accompany the text, using the simplicity of the design to further enhance and communicate the contrasting power of the spoken word.
Suzman’s stage performances have been far from prolific in recent times, though the essential Rose offers audiences a rare opportunity to witness an outstanding actress at the very top of her game.
Running Time: 2 hours and 24-minutes (approx.) (including a 20-minute interval)
Final Performance at HOME, Manchester: Saturday 10th May, 2017
For more information, and to book tickets, please Click Here.