The new production runs at the National Theatre from 10th November, and is currently booking until 13th April. Part of the Travelex £15 Tickets season, half the tickets for every performance are £15. It will be broadcast to UK cinemas by National Theatre Live on 12th March.
India is surging with global ambition. But beyond the luxury hotels surrounding Mumbai airport lies a makeshift slum, full of people with plans of their own.
Zehrunisa and her son Abdul aim to recycle enough rubbish to fund a proper house.
Sunil, twelve and stunted, wants to eat until he’s as tall as Kalu the thief.
Asha seeks to steal government anti-poverty funds to turn herself into a ‘first-class person’, while her daughter Manju intends to become the slum’s first female graduate.
But their schemes are fragile; global recession threatens the garbage trade, and another slum dweller is about to make an accusation that will destroy herself and shatter the neighbourhood.
Playing the lead role of Zehrunisa, Meera Syal commented: “I’m thrilled to be involved in this wonderful production performing alongside some very talented individuals. Behind The Beautiful Forevers gives the audience an important insight into the complex world of slum politics and power struggles that blight and affect so many lives. What is so often forgotten is that behind the slum walls, there are some highly aspirational individuals with inspiring stories of achievement and success, and this is something that must be celebrated. All of our roles are inspired by the people Katherine Boo so beautifully honoured in her book and we hope as a company to bring the same passionate commitment and truth to their stories. Zehrunisa Husain is a loving powerful mother who had to fight unimaginable struggles to keep her family together and it is a privilege to be given the opportunity as an actress to recreate her experience in this amazing play."
Behind The Beautiful Forevers is a tumultuous play on an epic scale based on the original book by author Katherine Boo, who spent three years in Annawadi, recording the daily lives of its residents. Her uncompromising book won the National Book Award for Non-Fiction in 2012.
Director Rufus Norris, commented: “Creating a production such as Behind The Beautiful Forevers for the stage is not only a creative challenge but also a physical one. Trying to get the enterprise, chaos and humanity of a slum onto the stage in a way that honours the reality has been a fascinating task. They are a wonderful cast and crew, David Hare has scripted the production brilliantly and I’m looking forward to the opening night. I hope that everyone who comes feels we have done justice to the original book by Katherine Boo.”
• Behind the Beautiful Forevers runs from 10th November, booking to 13th April
• Travelex £15 Tickets: half the tickets are £15, with the rest at £25 and £35.
• Previews from 10 – 11 November: £15, £20, £25
• Olivier Theatre, National Theatre, Upper Ground, South Bank, London SE1 9PX
• Press night: Tuesday 18th November 2014 at 7pm
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