Rylance worked with playwright Stephen Brown to pen the script for the play. The current production is directed by former Bristol Old Vic and Battersea Arts Centre boss Tom Morris, with set and costume design by Ti Green, lighting by Richard Howell, music by Adrian Sutton and choreography by Antonia Franceschi.
Set in 19th century Vienna, Dr Semmelweis follows the titular doctor on his mission to convince the greatest doctors of the time that his discovery has the potential to save the thousands of women still dying in childbirth every year. He’s haunted by the women he has failed to save – represented in the show by a chorus of ballet dancers – but the powers that be question his motives and sanity.
Rylance said: ‘Here is a person who makes one of the most important discoveries in modern medicine – what we now call ‘Bacteria’ – and yet he is pretty much unknown because for forty years, until Louis Pasteur and Dr Lister make the same discovery, no one will listen to him. Why?
‘I was intrigued. The inspiration to act our story with a chorus of ballet dancers and a quartet representing the many thousands of mothers who perished unnecessarily, makes this a very powerful piece of theatre for me. I am thrilled to be reviving it in London at the Harold Pinter Theatre.’
Public booking for Dr Semmelweis opens at midday on 31 March.
|What||Mark Rylance in Dr Semmelweis, Harold Pinter Theatre|
|Where||Harold Pinter Theatre, Panton Street, London, SW1Y 4DN | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Piccadilly Circus (underground)|
29 Jun 23 – 07 Oct 23, 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM
|Website||Click here for more information and to book|