Search

Twilight Zone at the Almeida: ‘Everyone’s repressed and unemotional’

PUBLISHED: 15:30 06 December 2017

Amy Griffith a cast member in The Almeida's Twilight Zone. Picture: Helen Maybanks

Amy Griffith a cast member in The Almeida's Twilight Zone. Picture: Helen Maybanks

Archant

‘Between light and shadow, science and superstition, fear and knowledge is a dimension of imagination. An area we call the Twilight Zone.’

Amy Griffith a cast member in The Almeida's Twilight Zone Amy Griffith a cast member in The Almeida's Twilight Zone

Between 1959 and 1964, American TV audiences were gripped by the spinechilling twists in Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone.

Against a backdrop of McCarthyism, civil rights and the Cold War these episodes mined sci-fi, fantasy, supernatural and horror genres while trading on a paranoid era that spawned a thousand conspiracy theories.

The writers also managed to weave in concerns about racism, government and society.

Anne Washburn, who previously adapted Simpsons episodes for Mr Burns at the Almeida, returns to the Islington venue to do the same for the infuential black and white series while perhaps passing comment on a certain White House occupant.

Episodes are recreated, and one re-written, according to Amy Griffiths, who is among the ensemble cast playing multiple characters.

“I’d never seen it before, I only knew the theme tune – my generation grew up watching the X Files, or today’s equivalent is probably Stranger Things. It’s very much about the unknown and what ifs. You had a lot of UFO sightings in that period. There was little evidence to prove it, and it freaked everyone out.”

Amy’s whose past performances range from Truly Scumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to a sex worker in the musical London Road, adds: “Seeing the originals can be distracting if you feel you are replicating something already done. I’ve decided just to approach it as an original play.”

The setting is “very 1950s, Mad Men era in families or small communities”.

“Everyone’s quite repressed, and unemotional, they feel they are in control and everything is perfect.”

Accents are something of a Twilight Zone too: “Transatlantic but with a proper almost British twang.”

And Sarah Angliss’ eerie sound design uses the original score to “add drama and suspense”.

“The episodes were structured to be unnerving, funny but leave uncertainty about what’s just happened. Anne has done a terrific job being sensitive to those who will want to see what they recognise as the Twilight Zone, but to also make a brand new play that’s interesting to an audience of all generations.

“I find the episode she has re written the most powerful. It’s very much about 21st Century American politics; race, identity, community, how we react in a crisis. It’s as relevant today as it was in the 50s.”

December 4 until January 17. Almeida.co.uk

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Islington Entertainment Stories

Friday, April 20, 2018

Upper Street’s famous King’s Head Theatre pub could move into a “trendy neighbourhood bar” for more than 18 months until its new site is ready, a new report reveals.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Five star review for English National Ballet’s showcase of American dance

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Emma Bartholomew and her family visit Hot Stone in Chapel Market where you cook your main course on sizzling slabs of volcanic magma

Monday, April 16, 2018

“Perhaps only in Britain could one succeed in writing a thriller about the weather,” observed David Haig who both wrote and stars in this little-known true story about D-Day.

PROMOTED CONTENT

“I try and do my best to enhance the young person’s capabilities. I’m very focused on their education, their wellbeing and their cultural needs.”

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read entertainment

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now