premiere 25 Apr 2017
This special international coproduction with the Barbican Centre will premiere in April 2017 in London with a cast consisting of both English actors and TA actors. It will be performed entirely in English. The role of Gino will be played by Jude Law, who has proved to be one of the most important actors of his generation with various exceptional roles in both theatre (Henry V, Hamlet, Anna Christie) and film (Sherlock, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Side Effects, Cold Mountain).
Gino, an attractive vagabond, stops at a small roadside restaurant and gas station. It is operated by Hanna and Joseph. Hanna is stuck in an unhappy and loveless marriage to an older man in order to escape a life of poverty. A passionate affair occurs between her and the vagabond. Together, they devise the plan to kill her husband.
Visconti tells the chilling story though a number of short and bold scenes that are exceptionally poetic and raw. Is freedom in poverty to be preferred over being restrained but wealthy? It makes Obsession a powerful social drama about what passion inflicts on people. How it irresistibly draws them towards each other and eventually leads to a fatal ending.
With his first feature film Ossessione (1943), Luchino Visconti is at the basis of neorealism in Italian cinema, a movement focusing on the struggle for survival of the poor working class in economically and politically hard times. They are rough and harsh films, invariably shot on location. Visconti based his scenario on The Postman Always Rings Twice, a classic crime novel by James M Cain with a ruthless view of the bottom of society.
Obsession will be Van Hove’s fourth project based on Visconti. He also directed Rocco and his brothers (Toneelgroep Amsterdam and Ruhrtriënnale) and Ludwig II (Münchner Kammerspiele). In July 2016, he will create Les Damnés with the Comédie Française during the Festival d’Avignon at the Cour d’Honneur of the Palais des Papes.
Ivo van Hove about Obsession
‘Along a deserted road, the vagabond Gino stops at a garage and roadside restaurant, where he finds a job with Giuseppe and his oppressed wife Giovanna. Like a cougar – powerful and gracious – Gino enters the territory of Giovanna. They mate. The seduction between the two predators is so strong that they decide to kill Giuseppe. But this crime does not bring them together. Gino is unable to stay in the same place for long and Giovanna has become too much of a domestic cat. The power of nature and the power of society devour their desire, their passion. Big themes. Of all ages. Contemporary. Obsession shows passion as an idealized image of the love between two people and, at the same time, the inability to make it last forever. It is especially exciting to bring together English actors and actors from our ensemble for the first time in this rugged play that has the power of an ancient tragedy.’
Obsession will be broadcasted live in a cinema near you on 11 May.
> go to the website of NT Live