Jez butterworth_ playwright ‘without equal’ turns his gaze on the troubles _ stage _ the guardian

It will come as no surprise to those who have followed Jez Butterworth’s career that his new play, although set at the time of the hunger strike during the Troubles, takes place not in Belfast but in the countryside. Noodles and company york pa Few details have been released, but The Ferryman will be set in rural Derry in 1981, where a multi-generational farming family is about to bring the harvest in and, said Butterworth this week, “where the past comes back into the present in a way that shows it was never really buried”. Noodles and company minneapolis It will be a “big play”, he said, “on the scale of Jerusalem”, words that will quicken the heart of any theatre lover. Noodles and company menu gluten free Even the news that the play will be directed by Sam Mendes, with whom the writer has worked on the last two Bond films, wasn’t greeted with the same excitement: a new Butterworth play is the draw.


His previous plays, with the exception of his debut, Mojo, which was set in Soho, have remote backdrops or the liminal setting of the suburbia of his childhood. Noodles and companh But this play may also signal a curious swerve. Noodles and company menu pdf Butterworth seems such an English writer, suffused with English mythology, whether in the gangland folklore of 1950s London in Mojo or in The River, wherein a man and woman are holed up in a cabin on a fishing trip (the bait used to catch the trout is that very English of snacks, a pickled onion Monster Munch). Food with noodles His most famous hymn to England is the phenomenon that was his 2009 play Jerusalem, taking in as it does the very marrow of national identity: St George and Stonehenge, Jack-of-the-Green and the Queen, Morris dancers and pub car parks, custard creams, Pot Noodles and Little Chefs.

Butterworth seems, says the Guardian’s theatre critic, Michael Billington, “haunted by the nature of Englishness: he constantly asks how we preserve ancestral memories and countryside rituals in an age of ribbon development and hi-tech advance.” Audiences will be intrigued to see how he handles Irish history.

Both of his parents were part Irish Catholics, though Butterworth was born in London and grew up, the second youngest of five, on a 1960s cul-de-sac in St Albans (two brothers are also writers, with whom Butterworth has worked; another is a producer and their late sister Joanne was registrar at the drama school Lamda). Noodles and company yorktown Butterworth grew up watching films, not plays. Where are noodles from He said he watched “thousands and thousands of hours of movies” at home on television. Noodles plus menu “I was going to the Odeon to see Rocky IV, or Fatal Attraction, films like that. Noodles and company boise And I remember thinking, ‘This bit here could be better’,” he said in 2013 (later, he would do exactly that, brought in as a “script doctor” to improve screenplays).

At Cambridge, where he followed his older brother from comprehensive school, Butterworth discovered drama; he wrote a play based on Katharine Whitehorn’s Cooking in a Bedsitter, which he and his brother Tom took to the Edinburgh fringe. Noodles and company yelp After university, Butterworth worked briefly as an office boy in an advertising agency before he and Tom signed on, left London and lived an impoverished life in a cottage in a Wiltshire village (which would later serve as the model for Flintlock in Jerusalem) and focused on writing. Noodles menu calories They wrote a TV film, Christmas, together, and Butterworth created his first proper play, Mojo.

It was, remembers Ian Rickson, who directed the play at the Royal Court, “a thrilling first read. Noodles and company 76th st It had incredible verbal energy but a deep, mythic quality too”. Noodles and company prices Rickson has directed all of Butterworth’s plays – the writer’s decision to elope with Mendes is a rarity – and Butterworth has said Rickson is “the most important thing in my career”.

Rickson says of his friend and collaborator: “Jez is completely consumed in his own unique universe, drawing from his personal mythology, reaching deep into the shadows, to generate his extraordinary plays.” He recalls the first time he met the writer: “He looked dashing in a big black coat, was open, responsive, and seemed very ready to seize his moment. Noodles and company delivery He did.”

Mojo was the first debut play to be staged in the theatre’s main space since John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger in 1956, and it was a success. Noodles king menu At the time, Butterworth spoke about the pressure he felt to follow it up. Noodles and company laurel “You are as tyrannised by your successes as you are by your failures,” he said in 1996. Noodles and company east lansing “You can walk away from your failures, but you can’t walk away from your successes … it is difficult to shed that kind of initial impact for the first thing you do, and get on and do the next.”

Butterworth didn’t write another play for years (his next, The Night Heron, was staged at the Royal Court seven years later). Noodles and company workday In the meantime, he had started working in film – he wrote screenplays with his brother, directed the film version of Mojo and wrote and directed the film Birthday Girl, with Nicole Kidman as a “mail-order” Russian bride; neither did terribly well. Noodles and company zona rosa There were also personal repercussions – Mendes had wanted to direct the Mojo adaptation. Noodles and company monroeville pa “Sam didn’t talk to me for years afterwards,” Butterworth later said. Noodles & company catering And a lot of the time was spent in the pub.

In 2002, Butterworth explained his absence from the theatre: “For a long time I didn’t feel that, if I sat down to write a play, I would have anything different or interesting to say, and I was damned if I was going to do the same thing again just because I could.” Two more plays relatively quickly followed; he had started the play that would become Jerusalem but it wasn’t working. Noodles and company madison Butterworth, who had moved back to London, left again for the countryside; he and his wife bought a smallholding and had two daughters. Noodles n company hours By the spring of 2009, the Royal Court had been booked and the company was expecting a play. Noodles hours Butterworth was struggling. Xian noodles menu His attention was also elsewhere (he was working on the film Fair Game). Noodles and company waukesha He left it to the very last minute, writing it within weeks.

Mackenzie Crook met him on the first day of rehearsals for Jerusalem and says there wasn’t even a finished script. Noodles and company schaumburg “He came along with a skeleton of a script and an idea that he fully admitted he didn’t know what it was yet,” says Crook, who played Rooster’s crony Ginger. Noodles and company breach “There were characters in there he thought weren’t going to make it to the final cut. About noodles and company He would be in every day, watch us rehearse and come in the next day with some new pages and hand them over. Noodles and company lone tree The play evolved in that way.”

Of the writing, he says: “It blew me away how anyone could come up with these beautifully crafted lines, the rhythm of them. Noodles and company nutrition It was just a joy to read, and the easiest lines I’ve ever had to learn. Menu at noodles and company Badly written lines are almost impossible to learn, because the rhythm isn’t accurate to how people speak.”

Did Crook find the writing-on-the-fly process nerve-racking? “It was. Noodles of the world locations In hindsight I should have relaxed and trusted it. Noodles and company rochester [I wasn’t] very experienced in theatre, it all seemed a little bit chaotic to me. Noodles and company frankfort I remember one day he came in and said it was going to be a three-act play with two intervals. Noodles and company ames I remember my heart sinking, thinking no one is going to come and see that, you can’t ask people to sit through three hours. Noodles and company orem Of course, people flocked to see it and didn’t even notice how long it was.”

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Mark Rylance and Mackenzie Crook in Butterworth’s Jerusalem at the Royal Court. Www noodles Photograph: Tristram Kenton for the Guardian

Jerusalem – shown first at the Royal Court, and then in the West End, and on Broadway – was a mega-hit, with people queuing in the early hours of the morning to get tickets. Noodles and company bangkok curry For Mark Rylance, who played the lead, Johnny “Rooster” Byron, the defiant demigod of dwindling power, it has become the defining stage performance of his career. Noodles and company loveland Unlike the period after the success of his first play, Butterworth wasn’t derailed by Jerusalem’s blaze. Menu noodles and company “The hardest stage for a playwright is producing the second and third plays,” says Rickson, “particularly after a big hit. Noodles and company tulsa Jez may have taken some time to process the success of his first play, but, crucially, has gone on to develop an enduring and compelling body of work.” What themes obsess him? “The plays are often haunted by abandonment and betrayal, and the challenges of real intimacy.”

Butterworth is unusual in that he switches so easily between theatre and film – and not arthouse film, but blockbusters, such as the Bond franchise. Noodles and company layton “Screenwriting and playwriting always strike me as like different sports that I can play,” he has said. Noodles and company reviews “It’s like cricket and football; they don’t really have much to do with each other except a lot of strenuous activity. All about noodles I can go from doing a play to doing a screenplay and it’s like one feeds the other in some way, I’m not sure exactly how.”

The film director Doug Liman brought Butterworth in to work on the script of his film Mr and Mrs Smith. Noodles shop Nicole Kidman, who had originally been hired to star opposite Brad Pitt, had suggested the writer. Noodles and company boulder “The script needed work,” says Liman. Www noodles and company “There was a draft of a script and it didn’t have the humour that I wanted.” Usually when an actor suggests a writer, he says, “it’s your worst nightmare. Noodles delight menu But in this case Jez came in with his brother John Henry and in three weeks they set a tone for the movie that ended up on screen. Noodles and company glen ellyn It was the single most positive experience I’ve ever had of a writer coming in to rewrite a script.”

Liman and Butterworth worked together again on the spy drama Fair Game and the Tom Cruise sci-fi film Edge of Tomorrow. Noodles and company hours Butterworth, he says, “is amazing at character, and amazing at story structure to bring out what is most interesting about that character.” What is he like to work with? “He is brutally honest.” When Butterworth was holed up in a New York hotel, struggling with the time travel intricacies in Edge of Tomorrow, he and Liman would meet up every day. Noodles inc menu “I would criticise things that weren’t working, and he would lash out viciously. Noodles and company concord ca And then at the end he told me ‘if I ever lash out at you, attack you personally, it means I know I’m wrong and you’re right’.” Heated writer sessions are not unusual, but Butterworth’s apology and self-awareness was, he says. Noodles and company dc “Those who make more commercial movies are really lucky that there is somebody like Jez who so perfectly straddles both worlds. Noodles and company vcu He doesn’t really have an equal.”

Even in 2011, Butterworth said he still considered himself to be in “a kind of apprenticeship”, and as for where he stands within British playwriting history, Billington says he is hard to place, “for several reasons. Noodles in company One is that his theatrical output is still relatively small. Noodles and company ingredients Another is that we live at a time, I believe, when there is a plurality of voices rather than dominant playwriting figures as in the era of Osborne and Pinter. Noodles and company orland park Having said that, Butterworth has an exceptional gift.” We’ll have to wait until next April to see what his new work brings, but in Jerusalem he has already written one great play, which is, points out Billington, “more than many dramatists do in a lifetime”.