Sam Shepard’s Ages Of The Moon at The Vaults announced

Joseph Marcell and Christopher Fairbank are to star in the UK Premiere of Sam Shepard’s Ages Of The Moon at The Vaults Theatre this October.

Ages Of The Moon The Vaults Theatre London
Photos: Michael Wharley

Joseph Marcell – best known as laconic British butler ‘Geoffrey’ in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air – and Christopher Fairbank – best known for his role as ‘Moxey’ in the iconic British series Auf Wiedersehen, Pet – will star as ‘Byron’ and ‘Ames’ in the long-awaited UK premiere of Sam Shepard’s play Ages Of The Moon, directed by Alexander Lass, playing from Thursday 17 October – Sunday 24 November at the Vaults Theatre in London’s Waterloo.

On a hot summer’s night, deep in the American wilderness, Byron and Ames are reunited by mutual desolation. By the fading light of an eclipsing moon, the pair reflect on love and life over a bottle of whiskey – and as old rivalries flare, their forty-year friendship is put to the test at the barrel of a gun.

Ages Of The Moon premiered in Dublin in 2009, starring Stephen Rea and Sean McGinley, and then transferred to New York the following year, with several subsequent productions in North America and Canada. This new production marks its UK premiere.

Alexander Lass said, “Byron and Ames provoke as much as they entertain. Two men in their mid-sixties, suffering literal and metaphorical heartache, they crave to be heard and known. Through their rambling recollections, coarse observations and raunchy humour, we are taken on journey where fact merges with fiction, beginning with youthful optimism and ending with mournful nostalgia. They philosophise about sex, marriage, betrayal, loneliness, death, country western music, horse-racing, and astronomy.

Like Estragon and Vladimir or Hirst and Spooner in No Man’s Land, Byron and Ames amuse us with their homespun conversation, disturb us with their despair all the while knocking back glass after glass of “the great malt which wounds”. The more they drink, the less we feel we can trust anything they say.

I cannot wait to direct this play. I am drawn to the humanity, comedy, universality, and understated showmanship of Sam’s poetic words, and I am thrilled to be collaborating with Joe and Chris, two incredible actors who will bring Ames and Byron vividly to life.

Christopher Fairbank has a long and distinguished screen career, with films including Lady Macbeth, Aliens III, Zefferelli’s Hamlet, Besson’s The Fifth Element, Burton’s Batman and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Well known for his role as ‘Moxey’ in iconic eighties series Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, his extensive television credits include most recently Taboo, Granchester, Wolf Hall and Wallander. He starred in Sam Shepard’s Curse of the Starving Class at the Royal Lyceum in Edinburgh in 2009, and his recent theatrical credits include Albion at the Almeida, The Pyramid Text at the Birmingham Rep and the Caucasian Chalk Circle at the Royal Lyceum.

Joseph Marcell has extensive theatrical credits: for Shakespeare’s Globe, he has played in multiple productions, including the lead in King Lear and Derek Walcott’s Omeros, both directed by Bill Buckhurst, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Our Friends in the North for the RSC; lead roles in numerous August Wilson productions in London & Washington DC and John Guare’s A Free Man of Colour at The Lincoln Centre. More recent stage credits include Lady Windermere’s Fan directed by Kathy Burke in the West End and Babette’s Feast at the Print Room. Joseph starred in the hugely successful NBC series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and has many television credits in the UK & USA including: EastEnders, Death in Paradise, Frost, Wrapped up in Christmas and Ryan Murphy’s soon to be screened Ratched. Film credits include Cry Freedom, Fedz, Hero and The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind.

Ages Of The Moon will be directed by Alexander Lass, nominated for Best Director at the 2017 Stage Debut awards for 46 Beacon at Trafalgar Studios 2, and whose other credits include Associate Director on Shakespeare in Love at the Theatre Royal Bath and on tour, and on No Man’s Land in the West End. Lass has recently directed the critically acclaimed play When the Birds Come by Tallulah Brown at the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and will also be directing the first London revival of David Hare’s The Permanent Way at the Vaults in September.

Ages Of The Moon will have set and costume design by Holly Pigott, casting by Ellie Collyer-Bristow CDG, and is produced by Debbie Hicks.


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