Uneasy collaboration

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Director Paul Ward says he has the “privilege” of not having seen Collaboration on its world premiere in Chichester’s Minerva Theatre two years ago.

“I missed it, and in some ways I am sorry, but in other ways I am not.”

It means that the from-page-to-stage process can unfurl through the rehearsal period without thoughts of ‘That’s how they did it in the Minerva’, Paul says.

Ronald Harwood’s play tells the story of the artistic collaboration between the German composer Richard Strauss and the Austrian Jewish librettist Stefan Zweig during the rise of Nazi Germany.

It is a collaboration which seems to open up huge artistic possibilities but one which is eventually doomed because of the growth of anti-semitism under Hitler.

Performed by a cast of six, the piece centres on the volatile relationships between the two creative men and their very different partners.

It will be presented by the Drip Action Theatre Company at the Victoria Institute, Tarrant Street, Arundel from Tuesday, October 18 to Saturday, October 22 at 8pm.

“First and foremost, it is very very strongly written,” Paul says. “It’s a beautifully crafted play. It’s set in a particular period of history, with Richard Strauss and Stefan Zweig attempting to collaborate during the rise of anti-semitism, but it speaks more widely of any situation in which the freedom of the artist is compromised by politics.”

It’s a piece which demands a strong cast, and Paul is delighted to say that he has got one: “The demands on the two central males in particular are huge. The Zweig character is hardly ever off stage.”

The production is yet another feather in the cap for Drip Action, a company which specialises in new writing. The show will be the country’s first-non professional production of the piece.

Tickets Tuesday to Thursday £9, £8 Vic members, £5 students; Friday and Saturday £10, Vic members £9; available from the Book Ferrett, 34, High Street, Arundel. 01903 885727.