Witness a gripping drama that crackles with the energy of the fierce debate between medical ethics and personal beliefs. Catch a breathtaking production by Robert Icke, as he brings a classic back to life in a contemporary setting.
why watch the doctor
why watch the doctor
Adapted from the controversial 1912 play Professor Bernhardi written by Arthur Schnitzler, The Doctor explores themes of medical ethics and religion. In the 1912 play, the doctor is male and a priest is a white man. The current production, however, features a female lead and a black priest, thereby including a tangle of identity and gender politics into the mix.
The director, Robert Icke, who is the Assistant Director of the Harold Pinter Theatre has done a stellar job in weaving together all the elements to make for a riveting 170-minute performance. He wonderfully captures the collision between science and religion and portrays the arguments from both sides without bias.
The lead role is played by accomplished actress, Julie Stevenson. Boasting multiple BAFTA and Olivier Award nominations to her name, she puts up a spectacular performance as Dr Ruth Wolff. She portrays the decline of her character from the authoritative and powerful figure to a hunted tragic figure towards the end of the performance with astonishing conviction.
The run at the Almeida Theatre won critical acclaim and Icke was praised for breathing new life into the old play, while still ensuring that it held true to its original intention. Nothing is black or white, but just varying shades of grey, as Icke refuses to give any character the upper hand in the ongoing controversy. The sheer tautness of the direction makes you want to strain forward in your chair, as you wait with bated breath for the next revelation.
Ruth Wolff is a doctor who heads a private clinic whose objective is to find a cure for dementia. One of the top practitioners in her field, Dr Wolff is at the top of her game and has unwavering ethics and an uptight belief in her integrity.
One day, a patient is struggling to hold on to life. A priest arrives, intent on giving the patient her last rites before her death to absolve all her sins. Dr Wolff, however, will have none of that and wants her patient to have a silent and peaceful passing, unaware of the end. She denies the priest entry into the room, convinced that she mustn't first do any harm to the patient.
The media soon gets wind of the incident, and medical ethics and religion are brought to the forefront of the debate. Accusations are being thrown left and right, and the only clear thing is that the situation has turned political. Will Dr Wolff weather the storm coming her way or will she begin to question her stance on this precarious situation? Is the upstanding Dr Wolff bereft of any flaws in her unwavering beliefs?
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know before you go
know before you go
Duration: 2hr 50mins (inc. interval)
Audience: Recommended for ages 14+
No. of Shows a Week: ~8
Opening Date: 29 Sep 2023
Closing Date: 11 Dec 2023
Theatre Name: Duke of Yorks Theatre
Theatre Facilities: Restroom, Bars
Dress Code: Smart casual
Cast and Creatives
Juliet Stevenson as Dr Ruth Wolff
Writer and Director
Further casting for the 2023 production of The Doctor is yet to be announced.
- Content Warning: The Doctor includes discussion of suicide and the description of suicide methods. If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this production, you can get free support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year from the Samaritans. Visit samaritans.org or call 116 123 for free. This production also features the use of bright flashing lights and strobes.
- Keep in mind, the theater is air-conditioned throughout the year and can get a bit chilly. Bring along a light jacket if needed.
Your booking confirmation will be sent via email. Please display the ticket on your mobile phone with a valid photo ID at the Box Office of the theatre.