Silly season is almost upon us but there’s enough serious and/or seriously entertaining theatre opening in November to keep you sane.
Eurydice (Red Line Productions)
We encountered the mythic Eurydice on the Old Fitzroy stage at the beginning of the year in one of the episodes of Apocalypse Theatre’s production of American writer Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses.
Now the young bride is back in a play entirely devoted to her by another American writer Sarah Ruhl, who relates the story of Eurydice’s journey through the underworld from her perspective. Claudia Barrie directs this Mad March Hare production with Ebony Vagulans in the title role.
Old Fitzroy Theatre, November 15 – December 15
Love (Eternity Playhouse)
It’s love at first sight when Tanya meets the drug-addicted Annie in prison. It was “as if something had crawled up and bit me,” says Tanya, “like something had fallen off a building site and hit me.”
From that moment, Tanya and Annie become inseparable, and like any other couple they dream about the future. In this case, a future in which Tanya lovingly pimps Annie for drug money.
So begins Patricia Cornelius’ Love, the winner of the 2006 Australian Writers’ Guild Award (AWGIE) for best play. Beautifully written, it unloads in a compressed style that’s subtly poetic – like her later works SHIT and Savages – but never sounds anything less than real.
Rachel Chant directs this Darlinghurst Theatre production featuring Rose Riley and Anna Samson as the lovers and Hoa Xuande as Lorenzo, a guy Annie hooks up with when Tanya finds herself back behind bars.
Eternity Playhouse, Darlinghurst, November 16 – December 9
A Cheery Soul (Sydney Theatre Company)
“A Cheery Soul is a sad play,” wrote Howard Palmer in his faintly notorious 1963 micro-review of Patrick White’s play. Pretty sort shrift for what is one of the few Expressionist landmarks on the Australian stage. But you can get away with such japes when you’re not being paid a per-word rate, I suppose.
Sarah Peirse (The Children) plays the formidable Miss Docker in this Kip Williams-directed production featuring The Harp in the South’s Anita Hegh and Tara Morice, Shari Sebbens (Black is the New White) and Bruce Spence (Endgame).
If you’ve followed Williams’ work to date, it will come as no surprise to learn that the production blends live action and video, this time “to tap into the subconscious mind of Miss Docker and the people she encounters, giving the audience a cinematic view into their inner lives, their dreams and their nightmares”.
Expect something radically different to the last production hosted by the Opera House back in 2001. Yes, that long ago.
Sydney Opera House, November 5 – December 15
The Dance of Death (Belvoir)
Judy Davis returns to a Belvoir directing chair with August Strindberg’s biting tragic-comic depiction of an addled marriage.
Strindberg knew the territory intimately, having endured three deeply unhappy marriages of his own. It was written, according to Strindberg, in a mood of “blackest pessimism”.
Colin Friels is Edgar, a retired army captain and domestic tyrant. Pamela Rabe is Alice, a former actress. They live on an isolated island, where, when the mood takes her, Alice plays the piano in the hope that Edgar’s dancing will cause him to drop dead of a heart attack.
Enter Kurt (Toby Schmitz), Alice’s cousin, who joins forces with her to plot against her husband.
Belvoir Upstairs, November 10 – December 23
The Serpent’s Teeth (The Pidgin Project)
It’s been a decade since the Sydney Theatre Company presented Daniel Keene’s two-part play, a commissioned piece written for its Actors Company. The Serpent’s Teeth offers no less to chew on now.
In Soldiers, we observe family members buckle under the pressure of military decorum as they await the return of the bodies of their loved ones, killed in action in the Middle East.
In Citizens, a series of scenes take place in the shadow of a huge wall that, we are told, stretches for miles. It’ll be fascinating to see how a play describing imposing spaces and structures will work in the confines of the KXT and its traverse stage.
Danny Ball, Bernadette Fam, Phoebe Grainer, Nicholas Hasemann, Lisa Huyhn, Badaidilaga Muftuh-Flynn, Steven Menteith, Jillian Nguyen, Angela Sullen, Jens Radda, Joseph Raggatt, Saleh Saqqaf, Chloe Schwank, Louis Segeuir and Ross Sharp feature.
Kings Cross Theatre, November 9 – 24
The Wild Party (Little Triangle)
Musicals-focused indie outfit Little Triangle impressed with recent productions of Sunday in the Park with George and Merrily We Roll Along. The youthful exuberance demanded by The Wild Party seems right up their alley.
Adapted by Michael John LaChiusa (book, music and lyrics) and George C Wolfe (book) from a racy Jazz Age poem, The Wild Party invites the audience to a shindig thrown by Queenie, a dancer, and her somewhat sinister comedian lover, Burrs. Among the guests are a flamboyant lesbian couple, a prizefighter, two dancing siblings, and Queenie’s viperous chum Kate and her partner Black, who, as the drinks flow, takes a deadly shine to his hostess.
The Seymour Centre, November 15 – 24
The Laramie Project (Theatre Travels)
New York’s Tectonic Theater Project created a lasting template for verbatim theatre when it unveiled The Laramie Project in 2000, an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the beating and death of a young gay man, Matthew Shepard in 1998. The play draws on hundreds of interviews conducted by the theatre company with inhabitants of the town, company members’ own journal entries, and published news reports. The cast portrays more than 60 characters.
First seen in Sydney in 2001 (a Company B production at Belvoir), The Laramie Project has been produced several times since but this is the first time it’s been presented with its follow-up partner piece The Laramie Project:10 Years Later, which plays alternate nights on the same stage. Carly Fisher and Rosie Niven co-direct.
Seymour Centre, November 28 – December 8