Rupert Graves is to make his debut as a director with The Ungrateful Biped, a one-man play starring and adapted by Philip Goodhew from Notes From Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
Immured in a horrid basement flat in the hinterlands of London, an anonymous Man creates a video blog. Haunted by disturbing memories and nurturing an abiding malice towards all humanity, including himself, he embarks on a forensic analysis of his “underground soul”. Sick, spiteful, and ugly, yet convinced of his own genius, he is tormented by the belief that his intelligence is a disease which, in an irrational world, renders him less valuable than an insect. Bitter, alienated and crippled with inertia, the Man shamelessly revels in the depths of degradation he has plumbed in order to validate his existence and demands the right to screw up his life as he see fit. After all, is he really any different to the rest of us?
Fyodor Dostoyevsky created the underground Man in 1864. In doing so, he created one of the most paradoxical, self-lacerating and mesmerising characters in literature; the first existentialist anti-hero.
Rupert Graves, known as an actor for his roles in A Room with a View, Maurice, The Madness of King George, The Forsyte Saga and DI Lestrade in the BBC TV series Sherlock said: “Philip and I have known each other for a very long time. I enjoyed working on a film he directed me in and like his writing so I was intrigued when he told me he was writing a play and asked to read it. I loved it. When he asked if I was interested in directing, I was a little nervous as this would be my first time directing. It took me nearly 10 minutes to say yes. It’s a great piece of work. We have done a lot of work together over the last months, refining and honing the script. Philip is doing a great job getting under the skin of the character and revealing his human face. Knowing each other for so long is a definite bonus as it gives us a shortcut in our communication and we can really dig into the task without dancing around each other’s egos. I can’t wait to get it up and running.”
The Ungrateful Biped will get its world premiere at the White Bear Theatre from Tuesday 30th January to Saturday 17th February.