Hangmen (play)

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Hangmen
Hangmen Play.jpg
Written byMartin McDonagh
Date premiered18 September 2015 (2015-09-18)
Place premieredRoyal Court Theatre, London
Original languageEnglish

Hangmen is a play by the British-Irish playwright Martin McDonagh. It received its world premiere at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in September 2015, before transferring to the West End's Wyndham's Theatre.[1] The play was directed by Matthew Dunster, designed by Anna Fleischle, and featured David Morrissey and Reece Shearsmith among others. It was universally acclaimed by theatre critics, and was nominated for numerous awards including the Olivier Awards, Critics' Circle Theatre Awards and the Evening Standard Theatre Awards.[2] For its U.S. premiere in 2018 at Off-Broadway's Atlantic Theater Company, Hangmen won the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Foreign Play.[3]

Synopsis[edit]

Hangmen takes place in 1963 in the UK. It centers around an executioner named Harry Wade. Harry is the second best hangman in the land, and he owns a pub with his wife, Alice, and his fifteen year old daughter, Shirley. Harry is forced to deal with the abolishment of hangings, and the pub is filled with people who have various motives concerning Harry's profession. A stranger named Mooney comes to the pub and causes trouble, flirting with Harry's daughter to get under his skin. Mooney toys with Harry and makes Harry and Alice believe he has kidnapped and killed their daughter Shirley. This pushes Harry to hang Mooney illegally, which was Mooney's goal all along. The play ends with Harry dealing with the justification of the hanging he performed in the very beginning of the play.

Production history[edit]

Hangmen is written by playwright Martin McDonagh.[4] The play is set primarily in Oldham[5] during 1963[6] and centres around the abolition of the death penalty in the United Kingdom.[7] On 15 July 2015, it was announced by artistic director Vicky Featherstone,[8] that the play would receive its world premiere as part of the Royal Court Theatre's autumn 2015 season.[9] It marked McDonagh's first London play since 2003, when The Pillowman debuted at the National Theatre.[10] The play began previews on 10 September 2015,[11] with an official opening night on 18 September,[12] booking for a limited period until 10 October.[13]

The play is directed by Matthew Dunster, with fight direction by Kate Waters,[14] design by Anna Fleischle,[15] lighting design by Joshua Carr[16] and sound design by Ian Dickinson.[17] Following its premiere production the play transferred to the West End's Wyndham's Theatre, where it began previews on 1 December 2015, with its official opening night on 7 December,[18] booking until 5 March 2016.[19] A typical performance ran two hours and thirty minutes, including one interval.[12]

Hangmen was published by Faber and Faber on 17 September 2015[20] and received a National Theatre Live broadcast on 3 March 2016.[21]

An encore broadcast was shown at selected Vue Cinemas across the UK on March 22, 2016.

The Royal Court production transferred to Off-Broadway at the Atlantic Theater Company in New York from January 18 to March 4, 2018,[22] with original cast members Reece Shearsmith, Sally Rogers and Johnny Flynn returning.[23]

Principal roles and original cast[edit]

Original 2015 cast of Hangmen
Character Royal Court cast[24] West End cast[17] Off-Broadway cast
Hennessy Josef Davies Giles Geary
Clegg James Dryden Owen Campbell
Mooney Johnny Flynn
Bill Graeme Hawley Tony Hirst Richard Hollis
Pierrepoint John Hodgkinson Maxwell Caulfield
Shirley Bronwyn James Gaby French
Harry David Morrissey Mark Addy
Syd Reece Shearsmith Andy Nyman Reece Shearsmith
Inspector Fry Ralph Ineson Craig Parkinson David Lansbury
Charlie Ryan Pope Billy Carter
Alice Sally Rogers
Guard Mark Rose Maxwell Caulfield
Arthur Simon Rouse John Horton

Critical reception[edit]

The play has received positive reviews from critics.[25][26][27][28][29][30][31]

The show won for best play and best set design at the 2016 Laurence Olivier Awards as well as being nominated in the best director category. It also won best play and best designer at the Critics' Circle Theatre Awards 2015 [32] and best design at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2015.[33][34]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Royal Court and West End Production[edit]

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result Ref
2015 Evening Standard Theatre Awards Best Play Nominated [33]
Best Design Anna Fleischle Won
Critics' Circle Theatre Awards Best New Play Won [32]
Best Designer Anna Fleischle Won
2016 Whatsonstage Awards Best New Play Nominated [35]
Best Supporting Actor in a Play Johnny Flynn Nominated
Laurence Olivier Awards Best New Play Won [36]
Best Director Matthew Dunster Nominated
Best Set Design Anna Fleischle Won
South Bank Sky Arts Awards Theatre Award Won [37]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "'Theatre is never going to be edgy in the way I want it to be'". theguardian.com. The Guardian. 13 September 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
  2. ^ Clapp, Susannah. " 'Hangmen' review – a tremendous, terrifying return by Martin McDonagh" The Guardian, 27 September 2015
  3. ^ Rooney, David (May 3, 2018). "'Mary Jane,' 'Hangmen' Take New York Drama Critics' Circle Honors". Hollywood Reporter.
  4. ^ "Review: 'Hangmen' Is a Triumphant Return for Martin McDonagh". nytimes.com. The New York Times. 23 September 2015. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  5. ^ "Hangmen at Royal Court, SW1". thetimes.co.uk. The Times. 19 September 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  6. ^ ""Hangmen" plays on the British fascination, and revulsion, with capital punishment". economist.com. The Economist. 23 September 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  7. ^ "The truth still hurts: the enduring gallows humour of Hangmen". theguardian.com. The Guardian. 30 December 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
  8. ^ "In Bruges director Martin McDonagh returns to Royal Court with new play". theguardian.com. The Guardian. 15 July 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
  9. ^ "Martin McDonagh's Hangmen play leads Royal Court season". bbc.co.uk/news. BBC News. 15 July 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
  10. ^ "Martin McDonagh play features in new Royal Court season". whatsonstage.com. Whats On Stage. 15 July 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
  11. ^ "Morrissey, Shearsmith and Cattrall cast in Royal Court season". whatsonstage.com. Whats On Stage. 17 July 2015. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  12. ^ a b "Hangmen". royalcourttheatre.com. Royal Court Theatre. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  13. ^ "Hangmen (Royal Court)". whatsonstage.com. Whats On Stage. 20 September 2015. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  14. ^ "Hangmen Creative Team". broadwayworld.com. Broadway World. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  15. ^ "Let's talk about sets: Anna Fleischle on Hangmen". whatsonstage.com. Whats On Stage. 4 December 2015. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  16. ^ "For 'Hangmen' and 'Escaped Alone,' Connecting Threads in London". nytimes.com. The New York Times. 14 February 2016. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  17. ^ a b McDonagh, Martin (17 September 2015). Hangmen. Faber and Faber. p. 4. ISBN 0571328873.
  18. ^ "Martin McDonagh's Hangmen gets West End transfer". thestage.co.uk. The Stage. 2 October 2015. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  19. ^ "Martin McDonagh's Hangmen to transfer to the West End". whatsonstage.com. Whats On Stage. 2 October 2015. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  20. ^ McDonagh, Martin (17 September 2015). Hangmen. Faber and Faber. ISBN 0571328873.
  21. ^ "Hangmen NT Live". ntlive.nationaltheatre.org.uk. National Theatre Live. 3 March 2016. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
  22. ^ "Highlights From Atlantic Theater Company's 2017-18 Season". nytimes.com. The New York Times. 1 May 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  23. ^ "Royal Court's HANGMEN Casts U.S. Premiere at Atlantic Theater". broadwayworld.com. Broadway World. 27 October 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  24. ^ McDonagh, Martin (17 September 2015). Hangmen. Faber and Faber. p. 11. ISBN 0571328873.
  25. ^ "Play about the last public executioners in Britain is a flawless treat". independent.co.uk. The Independent. 21 September 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  26. ^ "A tremendous, terrifying return by Martin McDonagh". theguardian.com. The Guardian. 27 September 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  27. ^ "Hangmen at the Royal Court Theatre". express.co.uk. Daily Express. 25 September 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  28. ^ "Hangmen, Royal Court, review: 'pitch-perfect'". telegraph.co.uk. The Telegraph. 18 September 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  29. ^ "The best new play of the year". telegraph.co.uk. The Telegraph. 9 December 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  30. ^ "Hangmen, theatre review: Blackest of black comedies". standard.co.uk. London Evening Standard. 8 December 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  31. ^ "Hangmen review round-up". thestage.co.uk. The Stage. 10 December 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  32. ^ a b "This year the critics also awarded Hangmen and Bend It Like Beckham". whatsonstage.com. Whats On Stage. 26 January 2016. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
  33. ^ a b "Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2015: Who won and why". standard.co.uk. Evening Standard. 23 November 2015. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
  34. ^ "Nicole Kidman wins best actress at the Evening Standard awards". telegraph.co.uk. The Telegraph. 22 November 2015. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
  35. ^ "Benedict Cumberbatch and Nicole Kidman take home WhatsOnStage Awards". WhatsOnStage.com. Retrieved 2016-04-04.
  36. ^ "Olivier Awards 2016: The winners". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-04-04.
  37. ^ "Hangmen wins South Bank Sky Arts Award". WhatsOnStage.com. Retrieved 2016-06-09.