The cast have now been announced for the first London revival in over 20 years of Insignificance by two-time Olivier Award winner Terry Johnson. Alice Bailey Johnson (The Libertine, Royal Haymarket; Oh What A Lovely War, UK Tour; Desdemona, Park Theatre), Simon Rouse (Tribes, Crucible Theatre; The Dresser, Duke of York’s Theatre; Hangmen, Wyndham’s Theatre), Tom Mannion (Hamlet Who’s There, Trafalgar Studios; The Autumn Garden, Jermyn Street Theatre; The Patriotic Traitor, Park Theatre) and Oliver Hembrough (Echo’s End, Salisbury Playhouse; Wasted, West Yorkshire Playhouse; A Further Education, Hampstead Theatre) will bring this hilarious and bittersweet comedy to life on stage at the Arcola Theatre.
Insignificance centres on an imagined meeting between Albert Einstein, who is deliberating whether to testify to McCarthy’s House Committee, and Marilyn Monroe, who is being pursued by her jealous husband Joe DiMaggio. Over one night in a hotel room, the characters grapple playfully with the difficulties of knowing the world, each other and themselves.
Director David Mercateli comments, When Insignificance premiered, America had a celebrity president in Ronald Reagan. Now it has a celebrity president once again. It’s a fascinating time to revive this play about four individuals who are also towering icons, at the top of their games. What’s the reality of that for them? And what happens when the fantasies we project on to people become part our reality, part of the world we live in?
Insignificance premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in 1982, and was voted one of the top hundred plays in the NT2000 Platform series. It won Terry Johnson the Plays & Players Award for Best Play, and the Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright.