The Notebook

Created 2014

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Based on the award winning novel by Ágota Kristóf and set during WW2, The Notebook tells the story of a pair of twin brothers evacuated to their impoverished grandmother’s farm in order to shelter from the conflict. These unnamed children are social outsiders, mavericks who survive and understand the world by a harsh private code. As the war deepens, the brothers are slowly revealed as struggling moralists, trying to live by consistent principles in a Central Europe crumbling into cruelty and opportunism.

Directed by Tim Etchells, The Notebook is an unraveling knot of naïve logic, weaving dark and subversive humour from wartime hardships. Forced Entertainment performers Richard Lowdon and Robin Arthur stand side by side to tell their story in an unsettling and uncanny double act that traps two people in a single voice and a shared perspective. Kristóf’s narrational language – bold, crisp and reduced – provides the basis for a unique and compelling performance.

"...galvanising, and a reminder of the wide vocabulary of a company that is 30 this year and still at the top of its game." ★★★★
The Guardian
"A marriage made in heaven, or in some very eloquent circle of hell" ★★★★
The Scotsman
"the ultimate show-and-tell." ★★★★
The Herald
"A timeless parable of a lost childhood in the face of war".


Conceived and devised by the company

Performers Robin Arthur, Richard Lowdon
Director Tim Etchells
Design Richard Lowdon
Lighting Design Jim Harrison
Production Management Jim Harrison

The Notebook is a Forced Entertainment production. Co-produced by PACT Zollverein Essen, LIFT London and 14–18 NOW, WW1 Centenary Art Commissions. A House on Fire co-commission with HAU Hebbel Am Ufer Berlin, Kaaitheater Brussels, Teatro Maria Matos Lisbon and Malta Festival Poznan – with the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union. Development work generously supported by LICA Lancaster Institute of Contemporary Arts

The Notebook is based on Le grand cahier by Ágota Kristóf, Éditions du Seuil, Paris, 1986. English translation © (1988) by Alan Sheridan