Year: 1964

Title of the play: The Royal Hunt of the Sun

Author: Peter Shaffer

Director: John Dexter

Others in the Cast: Robert Stephens, Colin Blakely, Oliver Cotton, Graham Crowden, Paul Curran, Michael Gambon, Edward Hardwicke, Anthony Hopkins, Derek Jacobi, Robert Lang, John McEnery, Louise Purnell and Christopher Timothy.

Company/Event: The first world premiere of a new play by the National Theatre Company.

Theatre and location: Chichester Festival Theatre

Other productions of the same play: Old Vic and Queen's Theatre, London. Tour to Aberdeen, Glasgow, Stratford, Leeds, Oxford and Nottingham.

Plot summary: The cult drama told the story of the conquest of the Incas by Spanish mercenaries.

Peth’s role: Villac Umu, High Priest of Peru; 6 performances as Atahualpa (from 11  March 1967)

Reviews: Michael Annals designed a set that would suggest multiple locations and the ceaseless, ravening sweep of history. Its centrepiece was a huge sun, symbolising the Inca empire. During the play the gold would be removed, leaving a dark, glowering hole. - Samantha Ellis, The Guardian, 27 August 2003

Four decades after a premiere that launched England's fledgling National Theatre, Peter Shaffer's epic drama The Royal Hunt of the Sun still gives directors pause. Only a fearless director, possessed of limitless theatrical ingenuity, could confidently tackle Shaffer's overflowing text, relying on techniques from Total Theatre. In 1964, at London's Old Vic Theatre, Shaffer's provocative work sprang to vivid life, directed by the brilliantly inventive John Dexter. That extraordinary production has since remained the gold standard. - Theatre Journal, Volume 58, Number 4, December 2006

Production details: Here

Related links:


Original pic

Original pic

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