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How to be in two plays

at one time

Evening Standard, 8th June 1990

“I feel I’m playing hookey,” said Michael Pennington with not a sign of contrition as he sat in the bar of the Gate Theatre. Mr Pennington is in Dublin playing Vershinin in ‘Three Sisters’ but will drop out of the production when it heads for London to resume his role as leading actor in Michael Bogdanov’s English Shakespeare Company.

The ESC was in poor financial shape until recently but, since Bogdanov won a director of the year award for his ‘Wars of the Roses’ cycle, new money has arrived and the Arts council is responding more positively.

No less than four ESC touring companies are being set up and Pennington will lead one, playing Coriolanus and Leontes in ‘The Winter’s Tale’, travelling to India, Japan and Australia.

“It seemed an eccentric thing to come to Dublin and at the time it looked like an exercise in the impossible.

“I was playing* in The Pit at the Barbican when Adrian Noble asked me to join in here. I could only get to rehearsals in Dublin on non-performance days at the Barbican. So I’d travel back and fore, miss a week’s rehearsals then have to try to catch up when I next got back, by which time everything had changed. But it seems to have worked out.”

*Playing With Trains

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