Eureka Day, written by Jonathan Spector and directed by Katy Rudd,will play from 06 Sep–31 Oct 2022.
A co-production with Sonia Friedman Productions
Author The Old Vic
1. This will be Helen Hunt’s UK stage debut
This autumn’s production at The Old Vic stars Academy, Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner Helen Hunt (As Good As It Gets, The Sessions, Mad About You) as Suzanne – a parent of children who attend the progressive Eureka Day School and a member of the parents’ ‘Executive Committee’. Following several roles on and off-Broadway, Helen will be making her UK stage debut in Eureka Day. She’ll be joined on stage by Kirsten Foster (Life of Pi), Mark McKinney (Superstore), Ben Schnetzer (Pride) and Susan Kelechi Watson (This Is Us).
2. It’s about a free independent school
These schools were started in the US in the 1960s–1970s, seeking to change the aims of formal schooling. At their heart, these schools allow for families to choose for their children, and let children learn at their own pace. Eureka Day, set in 2017, centres around the ‘Executive Committee’ of parents at Eureka Day School, and asks what happens when such a group needs to come to a consensus around a highly divisive issue.
3. It was a New York Times Critics’ Pick
Eureka Day has received several awards and, when staged in 2019, was the New York Times Critics’ Pick – who called it ‘the perfect play for our age of disagreement’. We’re delighted to stage the play’s European premiere this September and to share it with a new audience.
To find out more from the writer himself, we asked Jonathan Spector a few questions about the play:
4. To vaxx or not to vaxx
‘You want to play Russian roulette with your kids, go for it’
In Eureka Day the characters are tied up in a debate over whether or not to make vaccines mandatory for students at the school. But it’s not what you’re thinking. The play was written before any of us had ever heard of ‘Covid-19’, and refers to an outbreak of mumps – but since 2020 it will have taken on a much larger significance for audiences.
5. It’s set in Berkeley, California
Berkeley is a city on the Eastern shore of San Francisco Bay, known for its welcoming nature, as well as its arts and culture scene.
‘Because people are so committed to living by their values, [Berkeley] was a good place to explore what happens when different aspects of these values come into conflict‘
6. There are still tickets available, and they start from £12
With best availability on performances between 13–17 Sep, you can still be one of the first to see the show, and there are a range of seats and prices available, with tickets from £12 each.
Biking Through Berkeley
When I go visit Jonathan Spector I ride my bike. From my house, I ride the length of Berkeley (the setting for Eureka Day) in 40 minutes. To the west I see the Pacific Ocean, Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, the rolling Marin headlands, Alcatraz Island. To the east, tree-lined hills are dotted with homes that belong to ageing hippies that now cost over a million dollars and are in danger of wildfire. I bike through my parents’ neighbourhood, where ‘Everyone is Welcome Here’ signs, Tibetan buddha statues, and massive succulent plants sit in front yards. Beat poet Allen Ginsburg…