Sunday, November 3, 2013

State Theatre Company Season 2014

A few weeks back – I've been distracted and/or lazy; take your pick – the hard copy of the State Theatre Company 2014 season showed up in my mailbox today; so, as I've done a couple of times in the past (in 2011 and 2013 at least), I've put down my thoughts on what Geordie Brookman and his team are bringing us next year.

Oh, and this is only the regular season shows; for everything including the State Ed and touring shows, see the official site here.

The Seagull

I've not seen much Chekhov – growing up in culturally impoverished outback Queensland in the 80s will do that to do – so I'm glad for any opportunity to see the work of one of the greats, and The Seagull in particular; it's considered one of his best works.

They've managed to pull a big name in the form of Xavier Samuel, ex-Adelaidean who's gone on to big things like the Twilight series and Anonymous; he'll be joined by SA stage legend Rosalba Clemente and State Theatre regulars Terrance Crawford, Lizzy Falkland and Renato Musolino, plus a host of others.

Very keen to see this one; it's the first thing I'm putting in my calendar for Fringesanity1 2014.

1This, if you're unfamiliar with my work, is my term for festival season in Adelaide, i.e. the Fringe and the Festival.

Neighbourhood Watch

I'm particularly excited by this show, for a number of reasons – firstly, that it stars one of my all time favourite actors, Miriam Margolyes; and secondly that appearing opposite her is my friend and soon-to-be NIDA graduate Eleanor Stankiewicz, who I've known as long as I've been doing community theatre in Adelaide and with whom I've worked on a few shows, including acting opposite her in the Burnside Players production of The Crucible2.

Plus it's by one of Australia's most interesting contemporary playwrights, Lally Katz.

2The other times were shows I stage managed, Daisy Pulls It Off and Les Liaisons Dangereuses.

Little Bird

Legendary performer Paul Capsis – who I saw a few years ago in the amazing show Company of Strangers, which is where I first saw my favourite cabaret performer, the awesome Le Gateau Chocolat – returns to Adelaide in a specially commissioned work by Nicki Bloom and featuring songs by Quentin Grant and one of Adelaide's favourite sons, Cameron Goodall3.

This will be part of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival.

3Award-winning actor and musician - he was in the original lineup of The Audreys and won an ARIA - who will be playing Zazu in the Australian stage production of The Lion King.

The Importance of Being Earnest

There are few plays in the world I love more than this, Oscar Wilde's greatest work; the ultimate comedy of manners.

That it will be starring the legendary Nancye Hayes and one of my favourite Adelaide actors, Nathan O'Keefe just makes it that much more exciting. I've only ever seen it once on stage; the University of Adelaide Theatre Guild put it on a few years back (I auditioned but didn't get in4) but that wasn't, in my opinion, an especially good production.

The film version from a few years back had its moments, but they left out my favourite scene from the play – where Gwendolen and Cecily engage in a conversation that ranks as one of the snarkiest ever written in the English language.

About the only concern for me is that it's in July/August, and I'm planning a trip to the UK about that time – so I'll just have to make sure I'm back for it and have bought a ticket well in advance.

4I didn't actually expect to get in – half the appropriately-aged actors in Adelaide went out for it – but I actually like auditioning and felt that it may be the only time I'd get a chance to perform some Wilde dialogue in front of an audience.

The Suit

I'm not familiar with the work of Peter Brook or Théâtre Des Bouffes du Nord5, but this show sounds interesting; from the synopsis:

"Revenge is a dish best served cold, but it's also one that can eat you alive — and the people you love. In the dusty heat of a 1950s South African township, a young worker returns home to find his wife in bed with her lover. The lover escapes, leaving behind his suit. In revenge, the betrayed husband instructs his wife to treat the suit as an honoured house guest. The suit becomes a constant and painful reminder of her infidelity and, through its presence, tension erupts, sorrow abides and the couple's inability to heal is invoked. How long can she endure this cruel and pitiless punishment?"

5My limited French translates that to 'Theatre of Northern Hair', but I'm pretty sure that's not right.


I was blown away by Sue Smith's adaptation of The Kreutzer Sonata in this year's Festival, so I've got high hopes for this production of one of her plays. From the blurb:

"The play traces the fortunes of two students from a Sydney university, to China, and then to Parliament House in Canberra as their careers and relationships intertwine, peak and implode. Dylan is a carefree, charismatic but brilliant boy from the Northern beaches and Lian an introverted exchange student. As years pass their paths continue to cross; he is now a left wing politician whose career is solidly in ascendance while she has returned to China as a senior executive. They are drawn inexorably closer until the personal and the political start to blur with shocking consequences for both. Is desire enough to transcend politics?"


One of my favourite Shakespeare plays – mostly because it features my favourite of his characters, the villainous Iago6 – this is another I'm very excited about. I've seen a couple of productions of it; Independent Theatre did it a couple of years back, and only a month or so again I saw the NT Live broadcast of the National Theatre production starring Adrian Lester and Rory Kinnear. And there's the 1995 film version with Laurence Fishburn and Kenneth Branagh7.

What makes this even more exciting is that playing Iago will be another of Adelaide's greats, Renato Musolino. And since no doubt they'll flesh out the rest of the cast with some more awesome local talent, I suspect it's going to be a great production.

6A few years back when I auditioned for Macbeth I had the pleasure of using his speech from Act 1 Scene 1 that begins with "Thus do I ever make my fool my purse..." as my monologue.
7And Michael Sheen very early on in his career.

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