In 1972, Harold Pinter adapted the seven volumes of Marcel Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu (translated as In Search of Lost Time or Remembrance of Things Past) as a screenplay, which unfortunately never found the funding to become a film. The screenplay was then published as a book in 1977. In the screenplay, time shifts from scene to scene as Marcel remembers events from his past in route to writing a novel.
In 1996, director Di Trevis, then an acquaintance of Harold Pinter, decided to stage The Proust Screenplay with LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art) students, and eventually took the performance to the National Theatre in London.
On January 16, 2014, the production was staged by Di Trevis and Associate Director Ed Sylvanus Iskandar at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. Two of the original LAMDA students, Richard Armitage and Annabel Capper, returned for the NYC production.
In the 2014 production, Richard Armitage’s main role was of Charles Swann, a friend of the narrator’s family, and portrays his romance with Odette. (“Charles Swann, one of the novel’s heroes, was played with melancholy dignity by Richard Armitage…” Theatrescene.net, January 26, 2014). He also played a journalist and a brothel patron.
“Trevis had four days to prepare the New York reading, which involved actors with scripts, who were nevertheless extremely deft with frequent changes of character and context, and she brought with her two original cast members, including a strapping Richard Armitage as the stately Swann.” (In Search for a Lost Screenplay, New Yorker, February 5, 2014)
Videos from the performance can be found on Chrissy Lampard’s Youtube channel and Killingme Small’s Youtube Channel. Also be sure to read the accounts and view the photos from Librarygirl and Chrysanthe, who were in attendance at the show.
Dan Amboyér – Robert de Saint-Loup, Footman Director
Natasha Andrews – Albertine Di Trevis
Richard Armitage – Swann, Journalist, Brothel Patron
Kersti Bryan – Duchesse de Guermantes, Girl Assoc. Director
Annabel Capper – Rachel, Friend of Mlle Vinteuil, Leah, Mother Ed Sylvanus Iskandar
Peter Clements – Marcel
Samantha Dakin – Andrée, Gilberte, Mme Vinteuil Music
Andrew Fallaize – M. Verdurin, Jupien, Dr. Percepied, Norpois Dominic Muldowney
Lara Hillier – Odette, Mlle de Saint-Loup, Girl, Laundress
Hall Hunsinger – Charlus
Helen Manfull – Grandmother, Mme Villeparisis, Queen of Naples
Natalie Turner-Jones – Mme Verdurin, Françoise, Laundress
Michael Villastrigo – Father, Journalist, Duc de Châtellerault
David Winters – Duc de Guermantes