Tag Archives: Kip Williams

SYDNEY THEATRE COMPANY’S ‘WONNANGATTA’ : NEW SEATS RELEASED

New seats to Sydney Theatre Company’s critically acclaimed production of ‘Wonnangatta’ have been released. This is the result of the New South Wales Government allowing increased audience capacity. Tickets are expected to sell out quickly.
Wonnangatta

A haunting tale of mystery revenge

Written by Angus Cerini
Directed by Jessica Arthur
With Wayne Blair and Hugo Weaving

Wonnangatta Station, 1918. Two men arrive at a dark and empty farmhouse looking for the manager, their friend Jim Barclay. No one’s heard from him for more than a month. Something’s amiss. Then a grim discovery sets the men off on a journey across the harsh Australian terrain, looking for answers, maybe for revenge.

Angus Cerini’s multi-award-winning The Bleeding Tree was a sensation on its premier at Griffin Theatre and again when remounted by STC at The Wharf. In Wonnangatta, Cerini’s dark lyricism explores the Australian landscape – geographic and psychological – in a hard-driving yet poetic celebration of language and story.

Who better than theatrical powerhouses Hugo Weaving and Wayne Blair to bring these words to life in an exciting world premiere production directed by Resident Director Jessica Arthur

This Australian gothic fable will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Wonnangatta was developed with the assistance of the Australian Writers’ Guild David Williamson Prize Development Grant.

Designer Jacob Nash Lighting Designer Nick Schlieper Composer & Sound Designer Stefan Gregory

21 September–31 October, Roslyn Packer Theatre

Approx. Duration: 1hr 30mins no interval Content: Infrequent strong language, violent imagery
Featured image : Hugo Weaving,  Director Jessica Arthur, Sydney Theatre Company Artistic Director Kip Williams and Wayne Blair on stage at Roslyn Packer Theatre, Sydney. Pic Prudence Upton

STC AND NIDA PATHWAY COMMISSION AWARDED TO WRITER EMME HOY

‘Salem’, written by Emme Hoy, directed by Madeleine Humphreys at NIDA in 2017

NIDA and Sydney Theatre Company (STC) are proud to announce the winner of the new pathway for NIDA writing graduates, supported by the Longes Family. The STC and NIDA Pathways Commission has been awarded to Emme Hoy and will enable her to develop a theatrical work to be considered for performance.

Prolific and talented, Emme has written several plays, TV series, adaptations, and commissions. She completed her Master of Fine Arts (Writing for Performance) at NIDA in 2017. She is also an alumna of STC Emerging Writers’ Group. She was shortlisted for the UK’s most prestigious playwriting award in 2019, the Bruntwood Prize, was the recipient of the 2017 Belvoir Philip Parson’s Fellowship, was shortlisted for the Patrick White Playwright’s Award, the Griffin Award and the 2018 Theatre 503 Playwriting Award. In 2018 Emme wrote additional text for STC’s acclaimed production of St Joan and took part in their 2019 Rough Draft program with director Imara Savage. Continue reading STC AND NIDA PATHWAY COMMISSION AWARDED TO WRITER EMME HOY

CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF : SEARING DRAMA @ ROSLYN PACKER THEATRE

In Tennessee Williams CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF Big Daddy is dying but he doesn’t know it yet. It is his birthday. Big Mama is in the dark. Brick is at the bottom of a  bottle. But Brick’s wife Maggie is alive, desperately alive, and dancing like a cat on a hot tin roof. We meet the fabled family when lies are rife, tensions are boiling over and their future is at stake.

Kip Williams production serves Williams’ epic drama well. He leads a great creative team who dynamically set up the world for the actors to work in, and they respond by giving strong  performances.

Hugo Weaving has a darkly masculine energy as the formidable, imposing Big Daddy. Weaving makes his first appearance at the  very tail of Act 1. Big Daddy is the patriarch of the family who everyone lies in fear of. He has had a health scare and thought that his reign might be over but the results seem to be positive so he is back being the boss again. The main thing that he wants is to get Brick’s (his favourite son) life back on track again. Big Daddy and Brick have one hell of an extended, prolonged scene together with sparks flying back and forth. Continue reading CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF : SEARING DRAMA @ ROSLYN PACKER THEATRE

A CHEERY SOUL @ THE DRAMA THEATRE

‘All the lonely people

Where do they all come from?

All the lonely people

Where do they all belong?’

Eleanor Rigby

Patrick White’s classic play A CHEERY SOUL is the Sydney Theatre Company current production at the Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House. White has described this play, set in 1963 in the make believe suburb of Sarsparilla as ‘exploring the destructive power of good’.

Sarah Peirse is versatile but seamless as the ever cheerful but dreaded Miss Docker with her  obsessive, clumsy acts of Christian kindness. Her mania to do incessant good irritates all and sundry.  At the start of the play she is forced to leave home and must rely on the charity of those who know her. Mr and Mrs Custance welcome her into their home but she soon grates on their nerves. One scene has her making a humble cup of tea turn into a kitchen tornado experience. She spills three teaspoons of sugar, loose tea leaves and milk, and then offers to clean things up but actually doesn’t do it leaving Mrs Custance to clean up the mess, In the end, Mr and Mrs Custance ask her to leave because she is unbearable to live with.

In her main role Anita Hegh is wonderful as the very conservative, saccharine,  nervy Mrs Constance. Anthony Taufa, in his primary role, is her gruff, set upon husband.

Miss Docker’s next stop  is the Sundown Home for Old People- a very depressing nursing home. The patients have their cliques and Miss Docker’s reputation precedes her. She tries to ingratiate herself with one of the main women there, a  Mrs Lillie, well played by Tara Morice, whose husband has recently died. Mrs Lillie wants very little to do with Miss Docker, which is further indicated at her husband’s funeral. Miss Docker steps out of the car for a  brief time, and what follows is that the funeral car leaves her behind and she has to walk wearily home alone. Continue reading A CHEERY SOUL @ THE DRAMA THEATRE

THE RESISTIBLE RISE OF ARTURO UI @ ROSLYN PACKER THEATRE

Production photography by Daniel Boud.

It was with a sense of anticipation and apprehension as I entered the Roslyn Packer Theatre. I had a vivid memory of John Bell’s 1971 incendiary performance as Ui as part of the then Old Tote Theatre Company’s production. I was concerned that Hugo Weaving’s performance might straddle the high bar Bell had set.

However before I come to that, a brief synopsis of the play. The play charts the rise of a criminal megalomaniacal demagogue Ui and his gang of thugs who take over the grocery industry as well as that of a neighbouring town, as a precursor to take over the world. Bertolt Brecht, who left Germany in 1933, wrote the play  in 1941 in Finland, not as a play for the Germans but for an American audience. Brecht set the play in 1030’s Chicago where the Italian mafia ‘ruled’ unchecked. So Hitler’s inner circle had Italian names which director Kip Williams has retained.

Brecht died in 1956 in East Germany never to see his play which was first staged in Stuttgart in 1958. The play came to Broadway in 1961 with Christopher Plummer in the lead role.  The production lasted just eight performances. In 1968 the play performed better running for ten performances. Continue reading THE RESISTIBLE RISE OF ARTURO UI @ ROSLYN PACKER THEATRE

SYDNEY THEATRE COMPANY LAUNCHES ITS 2017 SEASON WITH SOME SURPRISES

It has been the season for launches and Sydney’s flagship theatre company, the Sydney Theatre Company,  has now chimed in with the announcement of its 2017 season.

Sydney Theatre Company’s Executive Director Patrick McIntyre started proceedings and then handed over to interim Artistic Director Kip Williams announced next years’ program to a packed gathering at the Bar at the End of the Wharf on Thursday night.

Williams has  curated  an intriguing program which is bound to attract a healthy cross-section of theatregoers. There are some exciting and bold choices.

There have not been enough stories coming from our Asian communities that have made it our stages. This makes the STC’s decision to program Disapol Savetsila’s play AUSTRALIAN GRAFFITI  cause for much celebration as indeed was witnessed by the delighted reactions of Lee Lin Chin and her friends when Williams made the announcement.

The  Sydney Theatre Company developed Savetsila’s play in conjunction with Asian Australian arts company Performance 4a and Playwriting Australia and will be directed by Paige Rattray. The play, commissioned by the STC, has been described as exploring ‘the migrant experience from the inside out.” A Thai family who open up a Thai restaurant in a small country town face a  crisis when their place of business is vandalised by graffiti. How cam they survive such a personal and cultural insult?!

Internationally acclaimed filmmaker PJ Hogan, along with his wife Jocelyn Moorehouse were on hand to hear the announcement that Hogan’s breakthrough film is coming back as a stage play, what’s more a musical.  Hogan has come up with a new book for the musical  and brings Muriel and her friends up to the present day. Simon Phillips will direct  and the music and lyrics come via award winning singer-songwriters Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall.

Williams will direct three productions during the year including a Caryl Churchill play CLOUD NINE which will star one of our finest young actors, Harry Greenwood. A big fan of Churchill’s work, Williams believes audiences will engage deeply with this work which explores how our need as human beings need to give ourselves specific  identities limits our ability to achieve true authenticity.

There will be a fresh revival of Michael Gow’s classic AWAY, directed by brilliant young director Matthew Lutton and starring Heather Mitchell, and a new adaptation by Andrew Upton  of Anton Chekhov’s masterpiece THREE SISTERS, again directed by Williams, starring one of Australia’s brightest young actresses, Eryn Jean Norvill.

The years’ international production  will be the Headlong, Nottingham Playhouse and Almeida Theatre production of George Orwell’s classic novel 1984 with a stage adaptation by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan. Sydney audiences will see the original production as directed by Icke and Macmillan but with a new Australian cast.

At the gathering Williams also announced that Imara Savage has been appointed as the STC’s new Resident Director taking over from Sarah Goodes who has moved across to the Melbourne Theatre Company. Savage will direct two plays in 2017, Colm Toibin’s THE TESTAMENT OF MARY starring Alison Whyte and Moira Bufini’s DINNER with a cast including Bruce Spence and Brandon Burke.

For the full details about STC’s 2017 season visit http://www.sydneytheatre.com.au.

For your enjoyment, here are some pics  taken by Guide photographer Ben Apfelbaum at a very well attended launch.

 

 

Love and Information @ Wharf 1 Sydney Theatre Company

Inset pic- Alison Whyte and Anthony Toufe. Featured pic- Harry Greenwood in Caryl Churchill’s LOVE AND INFORMATION. Production photography by Pia Johnson

Caryl Churchill’s play LOVE and INFORMATION begins with a secret.

Love to know the Information whispered but judging from the reaction from the recipient it was remarkable. And remarkable is an apt description of this play and this production of it.

Eight actors playing a myriad of different characters in a series of scenes, some microscopic, one silent as semaphore (literally), some the equivalent of a theatrical sound bite, most are tete a tetes. Continue reading Love and Information @ Wharf 1 Sydney Theatre Company

Suddenly Last Summer @ The Drama Theatre

Inset Pic- Eryn Jean Norvill as Catharine. Featured Pic- Susan Prior as Mrs Holly, Paula Arundell as Sister Felicity, Eryn Jean Norvill as Catharine, Robyn Nevin as Mrs Venable and Mark Leonard Winter as Doctor in Tennessee Williams’ SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER

This current Sydney Theatre Company show at the Opera House has that wow factor.

Kip Williams stunning production of Tennessee Williams brilliant play is a must see.

Within  a few minutes of the play starting we are completely immersed in Williams’  disturbing, hypnotic world.

The play’s title refers to the death the summer previous of Sebastian Venable. Whilst we never get to meet Sebastian on stage, the play is all about charting Sebastian’s journey, telling his story, and the terrible circumstances surrounding his  death.  Continue reading Suddenly Last Summer @ The Drama Theatre

Children Of The Sun

Helen Thomson and Toby Truslove in CHILDREN OF THE SUN. Pic Brett Boardman

With Maxim Gorky’s 1905 play CHILDREN OF THE SUN we are in similar territory to another classic Russian play, Anton Chekhov’s THE CHERRY ORCHARD. Both plays depict Russia’s old feudal world in its last, very oblivious throes.

The main difference between the plays is the approach the playwrights take to the inevitable ending. In CHILDREN OF THE SUN we get the full Sturm and Drang- to use a German phrase- as rioters invade Protassoff’s enclave. A master of subtlety Chekhov’s play ends with the sound of the chopping of wood in the distance as the family’s much loved country estate begins to be pulled down. Continue reading Children Of The Sun

ROMEO AND JULIET (STC)

Dylan Young and Eryn Jean Norvill plays the star crossed lovers. Pic Lisa Tomasetti

With Kip Williams’s current production of R and J audiences get  a bold, brash and powerful reworking of the Bard’s star crossed lovers tale.

Everything is big and dramatic and  vivid as…one suspect that he was more than a little encouraged by Bazmark’s film to do something similar in a theatrical vein.

Plenty of dollars have been spent on the set and staging,- David Fleischer- which features multiple revolves and ‘boxed’ sets, and the costumes- Anna Lise Phillips as Juliet’s mother comes out in a lavish, extreme pink dress- everywhere there is opulence…extravagance.

Alan John’s, together with Nate Edmonson’s, soundscape works in well with the narrative, mixing cutting edge music bytes with orchestral tones.

Williams’s production, with lighting man Nicholas Rayment’s work, is visually stunning. Williams’s staging is excellent. The scene where Juliet is at the deep back of the theatre in just the barest of lighting, as she waits for Romeo’s appearance is mesmeric.

As is Eamon Farren as he makes his dramatic entrance, full of bravado, that kicks off the second half.

As the star crossed lovers, Eryn Jean Norvill and Dylan Young shine brightly. During the show they have to make some direct audiences from the front centre of the stage and they do so confidently and with eloquent phrasing.

Others to stand out in the cast include some highly experienced performers,- Colin Moody as Juliet’s Dad, Julie Forsyth as her Nurse and Mitchell Butel as the Friar.

Highly recommended, this Sydney Theatre Company production runs at the Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House until November 2. It is a long night, running over two and a half hours, but worth every minute.