Candide is a new play by our Writer in Residence Mark Ravenhill, written as a response to Voltaire's classic tale. He explains:  

'Candide has long been a favourite book of mine. I wanted to explore Voltaire's satirical view of humanity's capacity for optimism and ask what it might mean for us today.

'I'm fascinated by Doctor Pangloss' belief in the book that this is 'the best of all possible worlds'. This got me thinking that it would be exciting to write a play set in a number of different possible worlds, each of them exploring the question of optimism in a different way.

'I enjoy stories such as David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas and Charlie Kaufmann films such as Adaptation and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, all of which use a number of  parallel universes. And since I was a child I've enjoyed Doctor Who stories in which different worlds and times exist side by side.  

'In my play, we visit a Venetian noblewoman's house as she puts on a play of the life of Candide, an 18th birthday party set in contemporary Britain which ends in terrible disaster, the offices of an international mogul as he sets out to make a movie based on a real life story of survival, the utopian world of Eldorado where gold is worthless and sheep fly and, finally, the slightly-in-the-future Pangloss Institute, where optimism has become a thriving business venture.'  

Mark's version of Brecht's A Life Of Galileo was recently produced in the Swan Theatre. His previous work includes Shopping and Fucking (Royal Court), Mother Clap's Mollyhouse, Citizenship (both National Theatre) and Pool No Water (Frantic Assembly). His plays have been widely translated and produced all over the world. He is the co-creator of the ITV sitcom Vicious.

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Teaching Shakespeare