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Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead

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Drive Your Plow

The international touring company Complicité presents a new work for the theatre, Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, directed by Simon McBurney.

Based on Nobel Prize winning author Olga Tokarczuk’s novel of the same name, the darkly comic, anarchic noir caused a seismic reaction in Tokarczuk’s native Poland due to its defiant attack on authoritarian structures, with right-wing press branding the writer an ‘eco-terrorist’ and national traitor.

The story begins in the depths of winter in a small community on a remote Polish mountainside. Men from the local hunting club are dying in mysterious circumstances and Janina Duszejko – an eccentric older local woman, environmentalist, amateur astronomer and enthusiastic translator of William Blake – has her suspicions. She has been watching the animals with whom the community shares their isolated, rural home, and she believes they are acting strangely…

Engaged in fierce resistance against the injustices around her, Janina refuses to be a prisoner of society and gender. Her actions ask questions both of the male world which surrounds her and of our deeper human intentions: what does it mean to be human and what does it mean to be animal, and can we separate the two? Why is the killing of animals sport and that of humans murder?

A thought-provoking, wry and otherworldly murder mystery, Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead is a tale about the cosmos, poetry, and the limitations and possibilities of activism.

Collaborating with McBurney on the project are set and costume designer Rae Smith, lighting designer Paule Constable, sound designer Christopher Shutt, video designer Dick Straker and dramaturgs Sian Ejiwumi-Le Berre and Laurence Cook.

A Complicité co-production with Barbican London, Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Bristol Old Vic, Comédie de Genève, Holland Festival, Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, L’Odéon-Théâtre de l’Europe, The Lowry, The National Theatre of Iceland, Oxford Playhouse, Ruhrfestspiele Recklinghausen and Theatre Royal Plymouth.

Casting: Kathryn Hunter will play protagonist Janina Duszejko. She is joined by Thomas Arnold, Johannes Flaschberger, Amanda Hadingue, Kiren Kebaili-Dwyer, Weronika Maria, Tim McMullan, César Sarachu, Sophie Steer and Alexander Uzoka. Casting is subject to change at some venues.

Full Creative Team:

Adapted from the novel by Olga Tokarczuk

Directed by Simon McBurney

Set and Costume Design: Rae Smith

Lighting Design: Paule Constable

Sound Design: Christopher Shutt

Video Design: Dick Straker

Additional Direction: Kirsty Housley

Dramaturgy by Sian Ejiwunmi-Le Berre and Laurence Cook

Original novel translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones

Photo credit: Patryk Hardziej

Important information

Running time:
3 hours (including a 20 minute interval)

Age guideline:

Please note, this show contains scenes that may be challenging for sensitive patrons including simulated violence, gunshots, drug use and nudity.

“One of the most fully-immersive theatre pieces ever created” New York Times on Complicité’s award-winning production of The Encounter.

A new Complicite show isn’t just a devised play: it’s a theatrical event. At the company’s inimitable best, it is a ticket to another world.Time Out on The Master and Margarita