Arthur and Leslie Reed have just given a party after moving into a high-class neighborhood in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan. Ben, a man from the neighborhood, unexpectedly knocks on their door and invites himself in. He admires the expensive possessions the Reeds have and they are pleased that he is impressed. Unlike Arthur and Leslie, Ben is not financially successful and he lacks their social prestige, but he has struggled all his life to achieve these goals. He is proud that as a fireman he got his name in the newspaper the previous week for trying to rescue a woman from a blazing fire. He believes this was an act of heroism even though he was fired for disobeying orders while trying to save the woman. Ben makes himself at home and does his best to ingratiate himself. He introduces a party game which only makes Arthur angry when he loses. Then Ben offers to demonstrate a magic trick that Arthur bets money he will be able to expose. He can’t. After that, the two men, who were both star football players in high school, argue about whose home town had better football players. Their quarrel builds to such a feverish pitch, that they clear the furniture and play football against each other in the living room, to Leslie’s utter dismay. Later she gets caught up in the excitement and cheers them on, regressing into her past when she was a cheerleader in high school. The improvised game gets rough and the men become enraged with each other in their desperate need to win. Arthur finally cuts through the childish football competition and proclaims how he is vastly superior to Ben in the real world where it really counts. Ben’s modest life and his job as a fireman are not enough to elevate him anywhere close to the status of the Reeds, Arthur claims. The competition becomes more and more intense until the end of the play when it is up to the audience to decide who won, if anyone, and who lost.
Teaching material and a video clip available for NATIONAL ANTHEMS
Click here to see a video clip of The English Theatre production of NATIONAL ANTHEMS
Click here to get the teaching material for NATIONAL ANTHEMS
The early bird catches the worm…
Good news for night owls: On 13 September, 2014 between 19.00 and 01.00 hours, forty-three theatres will open their doors and with just one ticket you can sample the cultural diversity of the city. On the occasion of the eleventh Hamburger Theaternacht there is a special offer for you. For all those who decide to buy a ticket between the 1st and the 30th of June, 2014 you will pay only € 12, -- (including HVV). The EARLY BIRD TICKET is available in all participating theatres and, for a small extra fee, at all regular ticket agencies.
Press Clippings: NATIONAL ANTHEMS by Dennis McIntyre
Hamburger Morgenpost, Sonnabend, 3. Mai 2014
„National Anthems“ im English Theatre
Wer sind die „Siegertypen “der Gesellschaft? Das ist die Frage der das English Theatre mit der schwarzhumorigen Boulevardkomödie „National Anthems“ nachgeht. Die Einweihungsparty ist bereits gelaufen, als plötzlich noch ein unerwarteter Gast bei Arthur und Leslie Reed auftaucht: Nachbar Ben. Der freundliche Feuerwehrmann ist voller Bewunderung für den Wohlstand, in dem das überhebliche Karrieristenpaar im Szene-Viertel einer Vorstadt von Detroit lebt. Doch bald ist Schluss mit dem Geplauder. Mit allerlei Spielchen fordert Ben die Sozialen Aufsteiger heraus-.-.was in der Komödie von Dennis McIntyre ihre schöne Welt ins Wanken bringt und die wahren Charaktere hinter der Maske aufscheinen lässt. Fazit: Eine starke Vorstellung!
Szene, Sonnabend, 3. Mai 2014
Der Kollaps des Amerikanischen Traums im English Theatre
Dennis McIntyres Gesellschaftskritik…steht in der Tradition der amerikanischen Nachkriegsautoren wie Arthur Miller—es verwundert also nicht, dass er „National Anthems“ …als Kritik am Amerikanischen Traum versteht.
Angloinfo, the global expat network HAMBURG, May 7, 2014
Threads of societal prejudices and behaviors are conveyed through acutely observational dialogue revealing stratums of personal motives, which director Robert Rumpf beguilingly cajoles from the cast. Miles Western (Arthur) and Tanya Winsor’s (Leslie) depiction of the Reeds tight balance—choices and consequences—is interestingly spot-on. Western grapples somewhat with his snobbish tight-lipped role. The enigma of Winsor’s character evolves; Leslie is far from a token wife. As the catalyst, Gareth Davies (Ben) unveils his character’s fluctuating personality with a poignancy that draws us in.
In the spirit of fine drama the English Theatre gamely caps off its Season with this stimulating and introspective production, promising that audiences are the winner.
die-auswaertige-presse.de, May, 2014
Congratulations again, dear Robert Rumpf, for choosing three extraordinary actors for this play – attractive Tanya Winsor – the spitting image of a young Catherine Deneuve – in the part of Leslie Reed and Miles Western as her arrogant husband Arthur. The Oscar goes to Gareth Cook who played Ben Cook with a nearly devastating intensity. Uta Buhr
Hamburger Abendblatt, 10 Mai. 2014
Drama im English Theatre: Der Feind im eigenen Haus
Der amerikanische Traum mit seinem Mythos von Erfolg, Ansehen und eichtum, den man natürlich gerne zeigt, bleibt verlockend. Anwalt Arthur und Lehrerin Leslie Reed, gespielt von Miles Western und Tanya Winsor, sind in diesem Kontext echte „Siegertypen“, so die Übersetzung des Theaterstückes „National Anthems“ von Dennis McIntyre, das derzeit in der Regie von Robert Rumpf am English Theatre zu sehen ist.