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Thursday, June 6, 2013

New Chess Play by Matt Charman: Premieres Sept with Hadley Fraser as Kasparov

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone, 

Casting has been announced for Matt Charman's new play. The Machine, which will have its U.S. premiere at Park Avenue Armory September 4-18 and its world premiere at Manchester International Festival July 10-21. Hadley Fraser will star as chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov. Fraser has recently starred as Sid in The Pajama Game at Chichester Festival Theatre and is known, amongst other roles, for his portrayal of Javert in Les Miserables in the West End.

Francesca Annis will play Garry's mother, Clara. Recently seen on television in Cranford, Annis' film credits include Revolver, The Libertine, and Milk. The wunderkind engineer behind Deep Blue, Doctor Hsu will be played by Kenneth Lee, who starred in US comedy drama Delocated.

The cast also includes: Lorenzo Allchurch, Antonia Bernath, Cornelius Booth, Nicholas Croucher, Daniel Harries, Rob Lines, David Mumeni, Phil Nichol, John Ramm, Lucille Sharp, Brian Sills, and Trevor White. Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse, Josie Rourke, directs this new play based on Kasparov's headline-grabbing 1997 New York chess tournament against Deep Blue, a super-computer developed by technology giant IBM.

The Armory's presentation will use the unique scale and epic beauty of the Wade Thompson Drill Hall to explore this clash of breathtaking human genius with matchless computer power. Staged in the center of the 55,000-square-foot space, the audience will encircle the action, surrounded by the vast darkness of the soaring Drill Hall.

In 1997, Garry Kasparov, the world's greatest chess player, arrived in New York City for the biggest match of his life. His opponent wasn't a fellow Grandmaster, but a faceless super-computer, Deep Blue, built by tech-giant IBM. The man versus machine match was IBM's bid to raise its profile and its stock price. An international celebrity and the undisputed master of his art, Kasparov came to America for freedom and glory. What he didn't expect to confront was the lifelong dedication of another man, Deep Blue's wunderkind inventor Doctor Hsu. Both geniuses, they staked their reputations on the tournament. What followed was one of the most compelling stories of our time.

The Machine is part of the Armory's 2013 season, which launched in March with OKTOPHONIE, Karlheinz Stockhausen's epic electronic masterpiece ritualized in a lunar environment created by visual artist Rirkrit Tiravanija. The season will also include WS, a monumental installation by Paul McCarthy; Massive Attack V Adam Curtis, a new kind of imaginative experience conceived by Adam Curtis and Robert Del Naja, mixing music, film, politics, and moments of illusion, performed by Massive Attack and special guests; and Robert Wilson's powerful new staging of The Life and Death of Marina Abramovi?

More information on Park Avenue Armory's 2013 artistic season may be found at

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