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The European Premiere Of The Critically Acclaimed Off-broadway Hit Comedy The Spoils. Written By & Starring Jesse Eisenberg.

By Tom Stratford

The European premiere of The New Group’s critically acclaimed Off-Broadway production, The Spoils, a razor-sharp new comedy written by and starring internationally acclaimed actor Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network, Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice), will transfer for a strictly limited season at London’s Trafalgar Studios, from 27 May to 13 August, with press night on 2 June.

The European Premiere Of The Critically Acclaimed Off-broadway Hit Comedy The Spoils. Written By & Starring Jesse Eisenberg.

Eisenberg’s third play, The Spoils originally ran Off-Broadway, to critical acclaim, in 2015 at The Pershing Square Signature Center from 5 May to 28 June. This play cements his reputation as a talented playwright whose tragicomic work explores questions of American privilege and the nature of family and relationships. The production is directed by The New Group’s Artistic Director, Scott Elliott, and stars Jesse as Ben, alongside his original co-star, Kunal Nayyar (The Big Bang Theory) as Kalyan. Further casting to be announced in due course.

A cuttingly satirical glimpse of a lost soul searching to assent the reality of his situation. Perceptively disconcerting, The Spoils speaks to the exasperated, self-analysing millennial generation.  A painfully awkward comedy, not to be missed!

Nobody likes Ben. Ben doesn’t even like Ben. He bullies everyone in his life, including his roommate Kalyan, an earnest Nepalese immigrant. When Ben discovers that his school crush is marrying a straight-laced banker, he sets out to destroy their relationship and win her back.

The Spoils has set design by Derek McLane, costume design by Susan Hilferty, lighting design by Peter Kaczorowski, sound design by Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen and projection design by Olivia Sebesky.

Jesse Eisenberg said “The Spoils explores issues as disparate as stunted sexuality and the politics of the deposed Nepalese Monarchy, NFL on Fox and the fluctuating prices of tea on the agrarian market. It's about how all of these seemingly unrelated things intersect to create a portrait of life in a complicated, heterogeneous society. I’m thrilled to perform this play in London, such an incredible centre for theatre.”

Scott Elliott, Artistic Director, The New Group said “When ATG offered us the opportunity to bring a New Group show from New York to Trafalgar Studios I just couldn't resist.  It's been a decade since we were on the West End with our production of Avenue Q and Jesse Eisenberg's The Spoils, a fiercely emotional, finely observed ensemble play written by and starring a truly singular artist, seemed the perfect way for London theatergoers to become reacquainted with our work.  Everyone knows Jesse the brilliant film actor but Jesse the theater artist is truly remarkable, and I'm thrilled and honored to be able to introduce his work to the West End.”

Ambassador Theatre Group and Lisa Matlin present The New Group production of The Spoils.  

Jesse Eisenberg (Ben) is a BAFTA, Academy Award and Golden Globe nominee, garnering praise for his portrayal of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network.  A multifaceted and dynamic actor, he is also an acclaimed author and playwright. 

Eisenberg’s past film credits include The Social Network, To Rome With Love directed by Woody Allen, Roger Dodger, The Squid and the Whale, The Education of Charlie Banks, Zombieland, Adventureland, 30 Minutes or LessThe Double, Night Moves, Now You See Me, American Ultra and The End of Tour. He can currently be seen in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and in the upcoming release Louder Than Bombs.

Eisenberg has been in various plays, including his play The Spoils in 2015 for The New Group at The Pershing Square Signature Center.  Eisenberg wrote and starred alongside Vanessa Redgrave in his play The Revisionist at the Cherry Lane Theatre, and in 2011 he wrote and starred in the play Asuncion, also at the Cherry Lane Theatre, earning a Drama League nomination for Distinguished Performance.

Born in New York, Eisenberg is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker magazine and the author of the novel of short stories Bream Gives Me Hiccups, from Grove Press.

Kunal Nayyar (Kalyan) starred in the original cast of The New Group's Off-Broadway production of The Spoils at The Pershing Square Signature Center, and will be making his West End debut in the play this year.

Nayyar is best known for his work as the loveable astrophysicist Raj Koothrappali on television’s #1 comedy, The Big Bang Theory. The series has been nominated for multiple Emmy, Golden Globe, SAG, and Critics Choice Awards.  The show has won the People’s Choice Award for favorite network TV comedy four years in a row.  The Big Bang Theory, now in its 9th season, averages 20 million viewers per episode. 

Additional stage credits include Huck and Holden at the Dahlia Theater in Los Angeles, for which Nayyar was awarded Best Male Lead in a Play on the West Coast by the Garland Awards, and Love's Labour's Lost at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, England.

Nayyar’s other screen credits include the upcoming DreamWorks animation film Trolls, the animated blockbuster feature film Ice Age: Continental Drift, the independent feature film, Consumed, directed by Daryl Wein, a recurring role on the Vince Vaughn produced TBS show, Sullivan & Sons and the character of Ajay on the Nickelodeon animated series, Sanjay and Craig. Nayyar has also guest hosted the late night talk show, The Late Late Show on CBS.  He took over the show for three nights and interviewed talent that included Billy Bob Thornton, Bob Newhart Simon Helberg, Sarah Hyland and Britt Robertson.  His episodes aired February 25 – 27, 2015 to great ratings.   

In addition to his acting career, Nayyar released his first book, Yes, My Accent is Real, in September 2015.  The book is a memoir focused on his experiences growing up in India and his journey to becoming an actor. He has also produced the documentary, Beyond All Boundaries, about the competitive sport of Cricket in India and follows three people and their passion for the sport.

Scott Elliott (Director) is an award-winning director, filmmaker and the founding Artistic Director of The New Group, a Tony Award-winning New York theater company where he most recently directed Sam Shepard’s Buried Child with Ed Harris, Philip Ridley’s Mercury Fur, Jesse Eisenberg’s The Spoils with Jesse Eisenberg and Kunal Nayyar, David’s Rabe’s Sticks and Bones with Bill Pullman and Holly Hunter and Thomas Bradshaw’s Burning.  Other directing credits include works by Wallace Shawn, Mike Leigh, Francine Volpe, Trevor Griffiths, Joe Orton, Ayub Khan Din, Stephen Bill, Noel Coward, Clare Booth Luce, Anton Chekhov, Christopher Kyle, Arthur Miller, Jon Robin Baitz, Kiki and Herb, Tommy Nohilly, Erika Sheffer, Neil Simon and Bertolt Brecht.

The New Group (Scott Elliott, Artistic Director; Adam Bernstein, Executive Director) is an award-winning, artist-driven company with a commitment to developing and producing powerful, contemporary theater. Founded in 1995, the company was born of Artistic Director Scott Elliott's desire to develop a place for artists to experiment, take risks, and learn from each other without the pressures of commercial theater. While constantly evolving, we strive to maintain an ensemble approach to all our work and an articulated style of emotional immediacy in our acting and productions. In this way, we seek a theater that is adventurous, stimulating and most importantly "now", a true forum for the present culture. Most recent productions include the critically-acclaimed Buried Child with Ed Harris and Amy Madigan; Mark Gerrard’s Steve, directed by Cynthia Nixon; and Philip Ridley’s Mercury Fur. Other notable productions include Mike Leigh’s Ecstasy, Goose-Pimples, Smelling a Rat, Abigail’s Party, and Two Thousand Years; Ayub Khan Din’s East is East and Rafta, Rafta…; Philip Ridley’s The Fastest Clock in the Universe; Kevin Elyot’s My Night with Reg; David Rabe’s Sticks and Bones with Bill Pullman and Holly Hunter and Hurlyburly; The Kid; and Sam Shepard’s A Lie of the Mind directed by Ethan Hawke. Over the past 21 years, The New Group has received more than 100 awards and nominations for excellence, including the Tony Award for Best Musical (Avenue Q). The New Group and Artistic Director Scott Elliott were honored with a Special Drama Desk Award “for presenting contemporary new voices, and for uncompromisingly raw and powerful productions.” 


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By Tom Stratford