Louis Nowra’s Così has inspired and moved a generation. First performed in Sydney in 1992, and made into a memorable film starring Toni Collette, Ben Mendelsohn and Barry Otto in 1996, it’s become one of the enduring classics of Australian theatre.
A wickedly funny ensemble piece featuring a collection of offbeat characters, Così is a salute to the power of performance to inspire and transform.
Now, the play returns to the stage as part of the Melbourne Theatre Company’s 2019 season from April 30. Directed by Sarah Goodes, the cast includes Esther Hannaford (fresh from her acclaimed role in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical), Sean Keenan (Wake in Fright), Katherine Tonkin, Gabriel Fancourt, Robert Menzies and Glenn Hazeldine.
Così tells the story of Lewis, a young man who takes on the job of drama teacher at a Melbourne psychiatric institution in the early 1970s. There, he’s given the task of directing a production of the Mozart opera Così fan tutte.
The complex and demanding piece of theatre (particularly for a first-time director) is made ever more challenging when performed in the original Italian – a language none of the cast members can speak. Nor can they sing or act. But the show must go on – even as Lewis’s home life is becoming just as shaky as the production he’s directing.
Sarah Goodes says “Così is an Australian classic – a show within a show that explores the transformative power of music and performance. Many people have grown up watching Così either on stage or on film, or even performing in it. The opportunity to revive this play in Melbourne, where it is set, is so exciting.”
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with the Melbourne Theatre Company.