We are in an half-empty theatre in 1986. A shy, middle-aged Dutch librarian has booked it, at his own expense, to tell an extraordinary story that he feels compelled to share.
It starts with the overnight return to his provincial library of a book that is 113 years overdue. Who returned it? Why is it so late? How can he make sure that the fine is paid? All he has to go on is a tattered bookmark: an unclaimed laundry ticket. Does he ignore it and go back to his quiet, sheltered life? Or does he follow it – wherever it may lead?
That's the opening premise of Glen Berger's 2001 one-man play, which has since travelled all over the world, to critical acclaim:
"The clues surface and mount, tease and taunt, and what might appear to be little more than a dull literary exploration becomes a dark and complex mystery that transcends the ages."Variety
".... one of a handful of great plays written in the last five years.... it's an astonishingly beautiful piece of writing...."Seattle Weekly
At the Criterion, Jon Elves is playing the Librarian. Director Richard Warren explains what drew them to the play:
“Like its central character, the play isn't quite what it seems at first glance. It starts as a sort of detective story. But, as we follow our reluctant amateur detective through his “Impressive Presentation”, we find out a lot more than he sets out to tell us. I could say the play is philosophical: but that doesn't really do justice to the humanity of it – or the humour. There's plenty of that too.”
In line with our new EDI policy, we undertake an EDI impact assessment of all our artistic programming. 'Underneath the Lintel' -The character of the librarian is Jewish and elderly and there could be flexibility around race/ethnicity. Has to be played as a male character. The story includes a theme of the consequences of anti-Semitic discrimination.