Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart in <i>Waiting for Godot</i>
Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart in Waiting for Godot
(© Sasha Gusov)
Berkeley Rep artistic director Tony Taccone announced at the nonprofit's April 20 annual gala that the company will be hosting Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart this August for a pre-Broadway engagement of Harold Pinter's No Man's Land. "It is a great honor to welcome these gentlemen to our stage," said Taccone. "I'm sure audiences will be as excited as I am to see these spectacular actors and their eminent director take on such a formidable script. I'm enormously proud that Berkeley Rep has developed a reputation as a supportive place where artists of this caliber can share their newest ambitious work with our audience."

The show will begin performances at Berkeley Rep on August 3, with an official opening set for August 11, and is set to run through August 31. McKellen and Stewart plan to then mount the show on Broadway this coming fall, along with Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot.

"I have many reasons, professional and personal, to care about San Francisco," said McKellen. "I was last there with the National Theatre's Richard III, when I lodged with Armistead Maupin and his partner. As Magneto, I bestrode the Golden Gate Bridge and flew it to Alcatraz. It's high time I played Berkeley Rep, and I'm so pleased to be doing that at last in No Man's Land (my first professional Pinter) and in such distinguished company." Stewart agreed, saying in a statement, "I am delighted to be performing at Berkeley Rep and look forward to living in and discovering the city and its surroundings."

In No Man's Land, which made its premiere in 1975, Pinter introduces two writers, Hirst and Spooner, and invites the audience to consider whether they really know one another or if they are performing an elaborate charade. The ambiguous story blurs the line between reality and fantasy as well as that between the present and time remembered.

"How thrilling to direct my first Pinter play and to do that for Berkeley Rep," added Sean Mathias, who will be directing the limited-engagement production, "I have always felt an affinity for San Francisco and its cultural values, and I know how important the theatre is to you in this part of the world. I am delighted to come and discover the delights of Pinter with the Berkeley Rep audience. I am sure the great author and his No Man's Land will seduce us all."

Additional casting for the production will be announced at a later date.