The four victorious allied leaders meet to decide the future of the world. As they discuss the state of Germany, the establishment of a new world order and countering the effects of war, another quartet entertains them with the melodies of Mozart, Haydn, Borodin and Bartok. But as the most powerful men in the world attempt to establish a new harmony, the musicians’ relationships are fracturing. In an antechamber between concerts festering antagonisms arise, old resentments are re-enacted and discord triumphs.
David Pinner’s 1973 play, The Potsdam Quartet is a semi-fictional portrait founded on the Griller Quartet who, during the mid-Twentieth Century, was one of the most famous string quartets in the world. With many recordings and a flourishing concert career and whilst part of the RAF Orchestra the quartet were the musicians of choice to entertain at the conference that was to determine the new order, following the defeat of Germany in the Second World War.
Exploring the complicated relationships of the musicians, the work explores the themes of war, the function of art and the tensions of creative relationships as well as touching on the subject of homosexuality in the days when it was considered a scandal and a crime.
This rare revival is directed by Anthony Biggs, Jermyn Street Theatre’s Artistic Director and stars Philip Bird, Stefan Bednarczyk, Michael Matus, Daniel Crowder!and Ged Petkunas. The Potsdam Quartet was first performed at The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in 1973. It was then performed in 1980 at The Lyric Theatre Hammersmith with Clive Swift and afterwards went on to The Lion Theatre in New York to be directed by the legendary Jacques Levy of Oh! Calcutta fame. In 1981 it was adapted for BBC TV in the Play For Today slot, again starring Clive Swift.
As a writer, David Pinner is best known for his 1967 novel Ritual which was later adapted to the big screen as The Wicker Man, the cult horror film starring Edward Woodward and Christopher Lee. The film recently been re-released in cinemas to celebrate its 40th anniversary. The Potsdam Quartet is part of his Stalin Trilogy of stage plays, which also includes Lenin In Love and The Teddy Bears Picnic. His other stage plays include a trilogy of power plays (The Drums of Snow, Richelieu and Prince of Traitors), Oh To Be In England and The Vampire Trilogy (Fanghorn, Edred The Vampire and Lucifer’s Fair). David has a rich acting career that has included appearances in the West End, regional theatre, film and television. He has just completed the sequel to Ritual titled The Wicca Woman”
The Potsdam Quartet is the second production in Jermyn Street Theatres autumn season and follows Steven Berkoff’s Religion And Anarchy, a visceral study of modern day anti-Semitism. Biggs’ previous productions at the theatre include the UK premiere of Ibsen’s St John’s Night, Charles Morgan’s The River Line, Ibsen’s Little Eyolf and a revival of the Frederick Lonsdale’s On Approval. The autumn season builds on these and Jermyn Street Theatre’s other recent successes, including Trevor Nunn’s acclaimed production of Samuel Beckett’s All That Fall starring Eileen Atkins and Michael Gambon, the musical Boy Meets Boy and a revival of Charles Dyer’s Mother Adam.
THE POTSDAM QUARTET
By David Pinner
Director Anthony Biggs, Designer Cherry Truluck
29 October – 23 November 2013
Jermyn Street Theatre
Monday to Saturday 7.30pm
Saturday matinees 3.30pm
Box office 0207 287 2875
Tuesday 1st October 2013