His latest play Downstate follows four (very different) men convicted of sex crimes against minors, who share a house in downstate Illinois. The arrival of one of the men's victims, grown up and determined to confront his abuser, starts to raise uncomfortable questions about just how much punishment we expect those who have long served their jail time to undergo.
The play is a co-production with the prestigious Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and transfers to the National's Dorfman Theatre in March 2019 after opening in Chicago. Pam MacKinnon, who has directed productions of Clyborne Park as well as a Tony award-winning revival of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, oversees a cast that includes Steppenwolf ensemble members acting alongside British talent such as Aimee Lou Wood and Cecilia Noble.
Reception of the Downstate's Chicago run has been unsurprisingly controversial. Among frequent praise, which includes a New York Times Critic's Pick, attention has been called on its very direct parallels with the #MeToo movement.
Norris even raises them explicitly in the production's Chicago programme, where he claims that 'positive social movements like #MeToo run the risk of tipping over into vengeance'. The satirisation of the alleged excesses of victimhood and retributive justice is a bold, but perhaps flippant, task to undertake at the present time, and the play's National Theatre spell will no doubt cause a similar stir this side of the Atlantic.
Public booking for Downstate at the National Theatre opens from 8:30am on Friday 9 November
|What||Downstate, National Theatre|
|Where||National Theatre, South Bank, London, SE1 9PX | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Waterloo (underground)|
12 Mar 19 – 27 Apr 19, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM
|Price||£15 - £65|
|Website||Click here for more information|