Preview: The Plague at Arcola Theatre

A retelling of Albert Camus's classic existentialist text about living through a time of crisis

SEVENTY years after its publication, Albert Camus’ classic existentialist novel 'The Plague' is being adapted for the stage and for modern times.

Written in the aftermath of the Second World War, Camus’ tale follows a plague as it sweeps through a French Algerian city with terrifying results. Back then, it struck it a powerful chord with readers who were struggling to understand the fascist ‘plague’ that had just ravaged Europe.

His story examined how humans react in situations of extreme crisis, with characters exhibiting both fear and courage, and also touched on the absurdity often found in such significant personal and historic moments.

In modern times, a pestilence could be literal, like the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa, or a more insidious plague like rabid consumerism or the new political realities of a resurgent right wing.

It will be interesting to see therefore, multi-award winning director Neil Bartlett's staging of this story at the Arcola in Dalston. Ours are different times, but this frank and gripping adaptation shows that chaos – as well as the positive power of common humanity – are eternally and urgently relevant themes.

'The Plague' is on at the Arcola Theatre, Dalston, from 5 April to 6 May. Tickets prices range from £12 to £22.