HAMPSTEAD DOWNSTAIRS / CELIA ATKIN PRESENT
THE ART OF ILLUSION
WRITTEN BY ALEXIS MICHALIK
TRANSLATED BY WALEED AKHTAR
DIRECTED BY TOM JACKSON GREAVES
Running time: 1 hour and 40 minutes without an interval
It’s a matter of perception. The hands of time turn at the same speed for everyone. Yet a child waits what seems to be an eternity for summer, whilst an old man watches a year pass in the blinking of an eye
26 - 28 Jan 2023
Box Office: 020 7722 9301
In 1984, as the France vs Yugoslavia match unfolds on TV, a man meets a woman in a Parisian café. He is returning a bag that she lost in the metro, but he doesn’t tell her he stole it… Instead, he tells her the story of Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin, watchmaker, inventor, and master magician of the 19th century. Together they set out to find a vanished theatre beneath a bank vault in the Boulevard des Italiens, to break into a museum in the Trocadero, to uncover the mystery of the Mechanical Turk, to witness the birth of the kinetograph… and to delve ever deeper into the Art of Illusion.
Alexis Michalik’s The Art of Illusion won three Molière Awards when it premiered in 2014. A Franco-British actor, writer and director, his other plays include Le Porteur d’histoire, Edmond and Intra Muros.
Waleed Akhtar’s writing for theatre includes The P Word (Bush) and Kabul Goes Pop: Music Television Afghanistan (Brixton House/Mercury Theatre and HighTide).
Tom Jackson Greaves is a director and choreographer whose recent work has included Whistle down the Wind; The Jungle Book (Watermill); Rent (Hope Mill Theatre); Amelie (West End) and Priscilla Queen of the Desert (UK tour).
The cast features: Rina Fatania (Favour, Clean Break Company, Bush; Sheila’s Island, UK tour; NW Trilogy, Kiln), Martin Hyder (My Brilliant Friend, National Theatre; Dead Dog in A Suitcase (And Other Love Songs), Kneehigh UK Tour; The Culture, Hull Truck), Bettrys Jones (Red Ellen, Northern Stage; Bagdad Café, Old Vic; Wise Children, Old Vic), Norah Lopez Holden (Hamlet, Young Vic; Equus, Theatre Royal, Stratford East; The Winter's Tale, Shakespeare's Globe), Brian Martin (Distinguished Villa and Jane Clegg, both Finborough; King John, RSC; The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Noël Coward) and Kwaku Mills (King Lear, Shakespeare’s Globe; Queer Upstairs, Royal Court; Perspective, National Theatre).
We are grateful to our Magic Giving Circle for kindly supporting this production: Carole & David Warren, Jean-Charles & Luce Julien, Miranda McArthur.
Our promise to you
In the event of The Art of Illusion being postponed, you can choose between a full refund or credit to be used for any show at Hampstead.
As always, our audience, company and staff are our top priority. For more information about how we’re keeping you safe, please click here.
We present entertaining and original theatre, and we want you to have the best experience possible. We understand that, as part of this, some audience members may appreciate additional guidance on the content of our plays. Click here for more information.
Please note that for performances of The Art of Illusion latecomers will not be permitted to enter the auditorium and there will be no readmissions once the show has started. Please ensure you arrive on time.
An Audio Introduction is available for this production. This is a pre-recorded introduction describing the set, characters and costumes and includes an interview with the cast.
TOM JACKSON GREAVES
NORAH LOPEZ HOLDEN
We caught up with The Art of Illusion director Tom Jackson Greaves, to talk advice, artistic influences, and his play opening at Hampstead Theatre on 17 December.
'“Our autumn/winter season celebrates Hampstead’s cosmopolitan roots with a range of international playwrights from Scotland to the USA, Northern Ireland to France and some great homegrown talent in between.'
First five performances: All tickets £5
Performances thereafter: £20
Seniors*: £12 (matinee only)
Under 30s and Students: £10
Emergency Services/NHS Workers: £10
This production contains haze, flashing lights, mild language and the mention of suicide. A herbal cigarette is smoked during the production.
There will be complete darkness for a maximum of 45 seconds at multiple points during the show.
Please note that our content warnings evolve as the production does throughout rehearsal and previews, so there may be changes made between booking and attending the theatre. If you would like to speak to a member of our team about specific themes or concerns, please call the Box Office on 020 7722 9301 or email email@example.com