Drawing: Olivia Williams in Waste

Autographed drawing of Olivia Williams in Waste at the National Theatre in London

“Olivia Williams steals the show,” was the headline for Dominic Cavendish’s review of WASTE at the National Theatre’s Lyttelton stage in late 2015.

Writer Harley Granville Barker’s 1907 version of his play was banned by the Lord Chamberlain, but was rewritten twenty years later and finally staged in public at the Westminster Theatre in 1936. The story is a combination of the three big themes, sex, politics and religion. Ambitious and independent politician Henry Trebell plans to introduce legislation to disestablish the Church of England and distribute its huge wealth to education. But, after election victory and success almost assured he suffers a fall from grace, impregnating the wife of a former Irish Republican, Amy O’Connell, who dies after a botched abortion. Roger Michell’s revival used the 1927 version, featuring Charles Edwards as Henry Trebell and Olivia Williams as Amy O’Connell.

“The night’s laurels belong, in the end, to Williams’s cloche-hatted anti-heroine whose tearful, vituperative, revulsion-filled showdown with Trebell has you on the edge of your seat,” concluded Dominic’s review.

After graduating with an English Lit degree from Cambridge University, Olivia studied drama at the Bristol Old Vic, followed by three years with the Royal Shakespeare Company. She made her film debut in 1997 alongside Kevin Costner in THE POSTMAN and has since appeared in such notable productions as THE SIXTH SENCE and AN EDUCTION, receiving critical acclaim and awards recognition in 2010 for her performance in Roman Polanski’s THE GHOST WRITER.

She is currently filming Florian Zeller’s movie version of his hit play THE FATHER with Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman, which is also being directed by the French playwright.

Olivia returned to the Lyttelton stage this spring to play Orgon’s wife Elmire in Moliere’s TARTUFFE, where she signed my sketch.

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Drawing: Matthew Fox and Olivia Williams In a Forest Dark and Deep at the Vaudeville Theatre

In a Forest Dark and Deep

 

Neil LaBute’s In A Forest, Dark And Deep received its world premiere in London’s Vaudeville Theatre in March 2011. It starred Matthew Fox in his stage debut and Olivia Williams, and ran for a limited season until early June.

Set in a woodland cabin on a dark and stormy night, the play is described as a “dark comedy of sibling rivalry” that turns psychological thriller. It’s a two-hander. Involving Bobby and Betty in a 90 minute confrontation that keeps the audience guessing as to who is the ‘manipulator’ and who is the ‘manipulated’ punctuated with surprises.

Speaking of punctuation, there was some discussion amongst critics and theatre-goers alike about Neil’s, comma in the title, considered at best redundant, and at worst just plain  wrong…