Daniel Goldman will direct Sam Crane in the UK première of Sergio Blanco’s The Rage of Narcissus. The production opens at Pleasance Theatre on 21 February, with previews from 18 February, and runs until 8 March.
Based on a true story, The Rage of Narcissus is a fascinating and disturbing journey into the labyrinth of the self and the darkness within us all.
You are directing The Rage of Narcissus at Pleasance, what can you tell us about it?
So, the play tells the story of Sergio Blanco – a professor-playwright and the author of the play – who arrives in Ljubljana to give a talk on Narcissus at a big international symposium. The first thing he does after checking in to his hotel room is to get on an app and look for someone to have sex with.
A few hours later, once Igor has come and gone, Sergio spots a dark brown stain on the floor. Looking closer, he sees that it’s a blood stain. And looking around, he discovers more and more blood stains all over the room. As he begins to investigate, he gets drawn deeper and deeper into a dark murky world of desire, infatuation and murder. All perfect material for a new play – if he can get out of Ljubljana alive.
The Rage of Narcissus is Sergio’s follow up play to his huge international hit play Thebes Land and it’s another autofiction, which means that he himself is the main character and he uses personal lived experiences as the launchpad for the story he tells. The amazing thing about The Rage of Narcissus is that it’s been even more successful all over the world, and audiences seem to love it everywhere.
What has impressed you the most about Sergio Blanco’s writing?
Oh, I think Sergio’s a genius. I genuinely do. He can do things that I’ve never seen in any other playwright’s work. He mixes fact and fiction, he combines high art and pop, he does thing with time and space that are unbelievable and his use of music and sound and art are always surprising. But more than anything, he tells a great story. You can’t miss a word.
It’s based on a true story, does that mean you need to think about it differently as a director?
No. Not at all. My job is the same. To tell the story and keep it moving and make it fun for the audience.
What’s the biggest challenge of bringing a story like this to the stage?
The challenge is that the show is so clever and twisty and mind-boggling, and at the same time, it asks you to keep things as simple as possible. It’s part thriller, part horror, part murder mystery, part documentary, part fiction and part TED talk, all rolled into one. And it’s really funny in moments too.
BUT the more you throw at it, the less it works. That’s what we’re discovering as we work. So it’s exciting exploring how close we can get to the edge of doing seemingly very little and stripping it right back, and yet taking the audience on a huge journey. That said, there are going to be some pretty exciting full on moments.
What are you looking forward to most about staging The Rage of Narcissus at The Pleasance?
It’s a great space for the show. It’s a nice big space so one person on stage feels quite epic, and at the same time, it’s pretty intimate. The audience are nice and close. They’ll feel very involved.
What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to see The Rage of Narcissus?
Book your tickets and come as early in the run as you can. With this show you want to get in before people start talking, before you hear any spoilers.
Main Image: Daniel Goldman