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Last Updated: Monday, 5 September 2005, 15:26 GMT 16:26 UK
Leigh's 'mystery play' gets title
Mike Leigh
Mike Leigh's last film was the award-winning Vera Drake
Film-maker Mike Leigh's new play at the National Theatre - which is completely sold out despite no one knowing its name or contents - now has a title.

Two Thousand Years - which runs from 8 September until 31 January - is the director's first play in 12 years.

Leigh has spent four months with eight actors creating the production.

All 16,000 seats for the play - which runs in the Cottesloe, the National Theatre's small studio theatre - sold out weeks ago.


The Vera Drake has a reputation for creating films and theatre without an initial script.

The actors are asked to improvise their characters under his direction before a final production is arrived at.

The play has been shrouded in secrecy, with even National Theatre staff in the dark as to what it might contain.

According to the Sunday Telegraph, the piece involves the trials of Jewish families in the years following the establishment of the state of Israel.

The theatre's poster for the production, which shows a single palm tree standing in the desert, led some to speculate that a tirade against the Iraq war was in the offing.

Leigh's most famous play is arguably Abigail's Party, which continues to be staged around the world.

His last, It's a Great Big Shame, was staged at the Theatre Royal Stratford East in east London in 1993

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