Kathleen Turner and Ian McDiarmid will star in new play, Bakersfield Mist by Stephen Sachs, directed by Polly Teale, which will open at the Duchess Theatre on 27 May, with previews from 10 May 2014.
Inspired by true events, this new play by Stephen Sachs asks vital questions about what makes art and people truly authentic.
Bakersfield Mist marks the return to the London stage of multi award-winner Kathleen Turner for the first time since her tour-de-force performance in Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? She will play opposite Olivier and Tony award-winner Ian McDiarmid (Life of Galileo, Faith Healer) directed by Evening Standard award-winner, Polly Teale.
Maude, a fifty-something unemployed bartender, has bought a painting for a few bucks from the thrift store. Despite almost trashing it, she now thinks it’s a Jackson Pollock worth millions. In fact she’s certain it is. But when world-class art expert, Lionel Percy, flies over from New York and arrives at her trailer park home in Bakersfield to authenticate the painting, he really has no idea what he is about to discover.
Kathleen Turner said “The shock and humour of diametrically opposed cultures with the transformative power of art – pure joy."
Ian McDiarmid said "I liked the idea and comic potential of two passionately opinionated cultural opposites engaged in a life-changing battle for the soul of a great painter."
Kathleen Turner plays Maude. Turner has garnered much critical acclaim for her starring performances on the big screen in a wide variety of films such as: Body Heat (for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe), Romancing The Stone and Prizzi's Honor (winning a Golden Globe Award for each), Peggy Sue Got Married (which brought Turner both an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe nomination), and War of the Roses (which also received another Golden Globe nomination). Turner's extensive film credits also embrace The Man with Two Brains with Steve Martin, Jewel of the Nile with Michael Douglas, The Accidental Tourist, V.I. Warshawski, John Waters' Serial Mom, Naked in New York, Moonlight and Valentino, The Real Blonde and Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides. Recent screen work includes the major recurring role of Sue Collini on Showtime’s hit series, Californication, as well as the starring role in the independent film The Perfect Family. In 2014 she will star in the eagerly anticipated sequel Dumb and Dumber To, alongside Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels.
Turner’s extensive stage work includes starring roles on Broadway in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (for which she received a Tony nomination) and Indiscretions, as well as The Graduate and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? which both ran on Broadway and the West End (the latter earning her a second Tony nomination). In 2012 Turner also directed and starred in The Killing of Sister George at the Long Wharf Theater in Connecticut. She has also recently starred as Molly Ivins in Red Hot Patriot: The Kick Ass Wit of Molly Ivins (Philadelphia Theater Center, the Geffen in LA and Arena Stage in DC), as a nun in High (Broadway and US tour) and is currently appearing in the title role in Mother Courage at Arena Stage in DC, which runs until 9 March 2014.
In addition to her film and stage credits, Turner wrote of her many accomplishments and life experiences in her 2008 autobiography titled Send Yourself Roses: Thoughts on my Life, Love, and Leading Roles, which secured a position on the New York Times’ Best-Seller List.
Ian McDiarmid plays Lionel Percy. Previous roles include Faith Healer (Almeida, Dublin’s The Gate and Broadway winning a Tony and UK Critics’ Circle Award and nominations for Broadway’s Critics’ Circle, Drama League and Outer Critics Circle awards for Best Actor), Life of Galileo (RSC), Timon of Athens (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), Emperor and Galilean (National Theatre) and Henry IV (Donmar). Alongside Jonathan Kent, McDiarmid served as artistic director of the Almeida Theatre from 1990 – 2001, for which they jointly won a Special Evening Standard Award for Theatrical Achievement. McDiarmid’s directing work includes The Possibilities, Scenes from an Execution, Lulu, A Hard Heart, Siren Song and Venice Perserv’d (Almeida), The Rehearsal (Almeida/West End) and Don Juan (Manchester Royal Exchange), where he was Associate Artistic Director.
On film McDiarmid is internationally known for playing the role of Darth Sidious/Emperor Palpatine in the Star Wars film series. Other film work includes Sleepy Hollow, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Restoration. Television work includes Utopia, Margaret, City of Vice, Our Hidden Lives, Elizabeth I, Charles II, Crime and Punishment, All The King’s Men, Great Expectations, An Unsuitable Job for a Woman, Touching Evil, Rebecca, Hillsborough, Cold Lazarus and Heart of Darkness. In 2014 he will play former Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey in the BBC drama 37 Days, which covers the weeks preceding the First World War, also starring Sinead Cusack and Tim Piggott-Smith.
Polly Teale has created a unique body of work as a writer and director that has won critical and audience acclaim with productions transferring to the West End and touring internationally. An award-winning theatre practitioner, she has been artistic director of Shared Experience since 1995. She has also authored a number of original plays and stage adaptations, including the trilogy Jane Eyre, Brontë, and After Mrs Rochester for which she won the Evening Standard Award for Best Director and the Time Out Award for Best West End Production. Other directing credits include Bracken Moor, Mary Shelley, Speechless (co-writer/director), The Glass Menagerie, Mine (writer/director), Ten Tiny Toes, Kindertransport, Madame Bovary, The Clearing, A Doll’s House, The House of Bernarda Alba, Desire Under the Elms, Babies And Uganda and, as co-director, War and Peace (co-production with National Theatre) and Mill on the Floss. Brontë has been adapted for a major feature film for Film Squared/Pathé.
Stephen Sachs is an award-winning playwright and director, and the Co-Artistic Director of the Fountain Theater in Los Angeles. As playwright, his plays include Heart Song (Los Angeles 2013, Florida Rep 2014), Cyrano (LA Drama Critics Circle Award for Best New Play, Ovation Award nomination), Bakersfield Mist (Critic’s Choice LA Times, 2012 Elliot Norton Award for Best New Play, published by Smith & Kraus in “Best Plays of 2012”), Miss Julie: Freedom Summer (LADCC and LA Weekly Award nominations), Gilgamesh (Theater@Boston Court), Open Window (Pasadena Playhouse, Media Access Award), Central Avenue (PEN USA Literary Award Finalist), Sweet Nothing in my Ear (PEN USA Literary Award Finalist, Media Access Award), Mother's Day, The Golden Gate (Best Play Award, Dramalogue), and The Baron in the Trees. He wrote the teleplay for Sweet Nothing in my Ear for Hallmark Hall of Fame which aired on CBS, starring Marlee Matlin and Jeff Daniels.
As a director Sachs has been nominated for the SDC 2012 Zelda Fichandler Award, recognizing an outstanding director who is making a unique and exceptional contribution to theatre in their region.
Bakersfield Mist is produced in the West End by Nica Burns and Sonia Friedman Productions in association with Darren Bagert/Martin Massman and Chris & Kelbe Bensinger