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Dominic Cooke

Dominic Cooke

Dominic Cooke

Dominic Cooke is an acclaimed director of stage and acreen. He was the Artistic Director of the Royal Court theatre from 2006 to 2013, where he presided over a exhilaratingly creative period which included premieres of Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem, Lucy Prebble’s Enron, and Bruce Norris’s Clybourne Park to name just a few favourites.

Dominic is an Associate Director of the National Theatre, where his acclaimed productions have included Caryl Churchill’s Here We Go, August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and Stephen Sondheim’s Follies in 2017, which was nominated for no fewer than 10 Olivier awards, and more recently Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart and Emlyn Williams’ The Corn is Green.

Dominic is also a writer and director for TV and film, having adapted and directed the BBC series of Shakespeare’s The Hollow Crown – The Wars of the Roses, as well as directed the films On Chesil Beach and The Courier, and he is next due to direct a film version of Follies.

Podcast Episode(s)
Recommended Play(s)
Dominic Cooke recommended The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare.

 

 

 

 

 

056 – Good, by C.P. Taylor

056 – Good, by C.P. Taylor

David Tennant as John Halder 
in Good at the Harold Pinter Theatre
London 2022.
Photo by Johan Persson

 

056 – Good, by C.P. Taylor

John Halder is a professor of literature at Frankfurt University. He is a cultured and caring man, who is married with two children, and who looks after his mother who suffers from dementia. He lives in dramatic times, because this is 1933, and Adolf Hitler and the National Socialists have come to power in Germany. The professor finds himself drawn into joining the Nazi elite as they pursue their terrible political and cultural agenda. His story is played out in C.P. Taylor’s disturbing, cautionary play, Good, which charts how an ostensibly ‘good’ person can become not just complicit to evil behaviour, but an active participant. The way in which an ordinary individual is caught up in a populist crusade speaks strongly to the dangers of our own time, where pernicious views and misinformation are so easily disseminated.

Good was first staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Donmar Warehouse in September 1981. As we record this episode a new production of Good is currently running at the Harold Pinter theatre in London’s West End, directed by Dominic Cooke and starring David Tennant as John Halder. I’m hugely honoured to have the opportunity to talk with director Dominic Cooke about this original and powerful play, and his new production.

Dominic Cooke

Dominic Cooke is an acclaimed director of stage and acreen. He was the Artistic Director of the Royal Court theatre from 2006 to 2013, where he presided over a exhilaratingly creative period which included premieres of Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem, Lucy Prebble’s Enron, and Bruce Norris’s Clybourne Park to name just a few favourites.

He is an Associate Director of the National Theatre, where his acclaimed productions have included Caryl Churchill’s Here We Go, August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and Stephen Sondheim’s Follies in 2017, which was nominated for no fewer than 10 Olivier awards, and more recently Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart and Emlyn Williams’ The Corn is Green.

Dominic is also a writer and director for TV and film, having adapted and directed the BBC series of Shakespeare’s The Hollow Crown – The Wars of the Roses, as well as directed the films On Chesil Beach and The Courier, and he is next due to direct a film version of Follies.

Recommended Play

Dominic recommended The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare.

Photo © Marc Brenner
We have footnotes for this episode …

The Footnotes to our episode on C.P.Taylor’s Good include observations on Halder’s solipsism, his shameful betrayal of his friend Maurice, and how individual moral paralysis writ large can sanction a political crusade.

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You might also be interested in …
080 – Long Day’s Journey into Night, by Eugene O’Neill

080 – Long Day’s Journey into Night, by Eugene O’Neill

Eugene O’Neill wrote his autobiographical magnum opus, Long Day’s Journey into Night, in 1941, but because of the personal revelations it contained he gave explicit instructions that it was not to be published until 25 years after his death and that it should never be staged. In the event his widow allowed both to occur in 1956, only three years after his death, when the play won O’Neill his fourth Pulitzer prize.

As we record this episode, a powerful new production of the play is playing in London, with Brian Cox and Patricia Clarkson heading the cast. I am delighted and privileged to talk with the production’s director, Jeremy Herrin, about O’Neill’s monumental play.

Photo by Johan Persson.

079 – The Hills of California, by Jez Butterworth

079 – The Hills of California, by Jez Butterworth

A new Jez Butterworth play is a theatrical event. The Hills of California is currently running at the Harold Pinter theare in London’s West End, directed by Sam Mendes. Do not be misled by the title, however, we are not in sunny California, but in the back streets of Blackpool, where four daughters come together to say goodbye to their dying mother. The play is a portrait of lost dreams, of deeply ingrained patterns of love and hurt within a family, and of suppressed and mutable memories.

I’m joined to explore this major new work by Sean McEvoy, author of Class, Culture and Tragedy in the Plays of Jez Butterworth.

078 – The Lover and The Collection, by Harold Pinter

078 – The Lover and The Collection, by Harold Pinter

We have a double-bill in this episode of two short plays written by Harold Pinter in the early 1960s: The Lover and The Collection, both of which explore sexual compulsion and the manipulation of truth within marriage or partnerships. As we record this episode a new production of both plays is playing at the Theatre Royal in Bath, directed by Lindsay Posner.

I’m delighted to welcome Lindsay back to the podcast to talk about these two Pinter gems.

Claudie Blakley and David Morrissey in The Lover
Photo by Nobby Clark