Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush make a welcome return for STC’s 2015 season. Also appearing are Hugo Weaving, Richard Roxburgh, Robyn Nevin and Susie Porter, alongside some of the country’s most exciting young names including Hunter Page Lochard, Eryn Jean Norvill and Shari Sebbens.
The program is broad. “It reaches from the very immediate work of The Wharf Revue (celebrating 15 years) to [playwrite] Kylie Coolwell right back to the deep pillars of Chekov, Shakespeare, Beckett and Tenessee Williams in capturing that very broad span and capacity inside theatre,” says artistic director Andrew Upton.
It’s two decades since audiences last saw Rush on the STC stage in Oleanna. Former Belvoir St. Theatre artistic director Neil Armfield will direct Rush in the titular role of Shakespeare’s King Lear alongside Nevin, Mark Winter and Meyne Wyatt.
Blanchett is reunited with her Uncle Vanya co-star Roxburgh in Upton’s adaptation of Chekov’s Platonov – his first play, which lay undiscovered in a box for decades. Upton is still deciding whether or not to set his adaptation of, The Present in contemporary times or the 1880s, when it was penned. “We don’t know what it is yet but it’s on its way,” Upton says.
Other classics given a fresh twist are Samuel Beckett’s apocalyptic Endgame, starring Weaving as, “the tyrant prince” alongside Mad Max’s Bruce Spence. Robyn Nevin is in the lead role of, “the impossible matriarch” in Tennessee William’s Suddenly Last Summer opposite exciting newcomer Norvill (who appears with Roxburgh in the upcoming Cyrano de Bergerac).
There are premieres, too: Caryl Churchill’s Love and Information; Melissa Bubnic’s Boys Will Be Boys, a black comedy following one woman’s battle at the male-dominated stock exchange; Coolwell’s autobiographic Battle of Waterloo; Olwen Fouéré’s one-woman show, Riverrun which The Scotsman described as, “The best thing about the Edinburgh Festival”; and Jumpy with Kath and Kim’s Jane Turner in a play the UK’s Daily Telegraph says is, “Funny, deliciously rude and at times piercingly moving.”
“There’s an interesting tension between the new work and the classics,” says Upton. “It’s very exciting for me. I hope it’s exciting for you too.”