Ensemble Theatre Season 2013
Co-Artistic Directors Sandra Bates and Mark Kilmurry announced the Ensemble Theatre’s 2013 season on Tuesday August 28, 2012, launching the season a with video presentation at the harbour-side theatre in Kirribilli, Sydney.
Eight of the ten plays in the season are new to Sydney, including World Premieres of three new plays from David Williamson, Geoffrey Atherden and Gary Baxter, and five Australian Premieres, alongside new productions of Bombshells (with Sharon Millerchip) and The Glass Menagerie.
David Williamson’s new play, Happiness, is about a professor of wellbeing who can't find happiness within his own life. Geoffrey (Mother and Son, Grass Roots) Atherden’s new play is play about sharing private info on public sites, eg. facebook, twitter, google etc then finding yourself under surveillance and being interrogated. Gary Baxter’s new play Camp is about the fun and the horrors of going camping with a bunch of families together
The 2013 program again features three female directors, with Sandra Bates directing three productions, Anna Crawford also directing three main season productions plus the children’s show, and Shannon Murphy directing one. Mark Kilmurry directs three productions (as well as appearing in one with Georgie Parker), including a nude Frankenstein at the Opera House.
Great Falls by Lee Blessing. Australian Premiere. Director: Anna Crawford. From February 2.
A stepfather desperately wants to reconnect with his estranged stepdaughter, but like many teenagers, she’s a closed book with a bad attitude. Their journey across America takes time – but is it enough time to iron out their differences? As the epic landscape sweeps by, tensions bubble to the surface exposing the complexities of the modern family unit. Buckle up for a funny and moving road trip with a dark secret at its heart.
“When I first read this play, I honestly thought it was one of the best plays I’d ever read., “says director Anna Crawford. “If I could have written one play in my life, this would be it. It shows that no matter what you do in your life, the choices you make and the actions you take, for better or worse, affect the people around you. It is so witty, so touching and really hopeful as well.”
Liberty, Equality, Fraternity by Geoffrey Atherden. Director: Shannon Murphy. World Premiere. From Feb 7.
Orlagh O’Connor has never considered herself a threat to national security. So why is she under surveillance and being interrogated? Is it a case of mistaken identity?
Or does the odd young man interviewing her actually have a case?
LIBERTY, EQUALITY, FRATERNITY explores the fine line between our impulse to share information with the world and our right for that information to remain private.
“What Geoffrey does so cleverly is put Australian politics and culture under the microscope - but of course he does this in a very comedic way,” says Shannon Murphy. “LIBERTY, EQUALITY, FRATERNITY raises so many questions that are very contemporary. It’s the kind of show that’s going to leave people buzzing in the foyer, talking about all the different issues in the play for a long time afterwards.”
Bombshells by Joanna Mussray-Smith. Director: Sandra Bates. From March 13.
Joanna Murray-Smith writes: “Many of us are trying to lead multiple lives: child, mother, wife, lover, star, giving small doses of oxygen to each and imploding under the weight of so many competing roles. The women I have written in BOMBSHELLS struggle – sometimes hilariously, sometimes tragically – to bridge the chasm between the wilderness of their inner worlds and the demands of their outer worlds. And humour, in the end, is our saviour.”
“I’m so looking forward to BOMBSHELLS,” says director Sandra Bates. “I’m blessed with thecasting – Sharon (Millerchip) is a real triple threat, a singer, dancer, actorextraordinaire. She also has another hidden weapon – herchameleon like ability to become different characters entirely.It’ll be great fun doing it, and I know you’ll all love it.”
Frankenstein by Nick Dear. Australian Premiere. Director: Mark Kilmurry.Sydney Opera House from Mar 27 and Ensemble Theatre from April 17.
Cast includes Katie Fitchett, Andrew Henry, Lee Jones, Brian Meegan, Michael Ross and Olivia Stambouliah.
Forced to survive in the real world, a man-made creature soon loses his child-like innocence and transforms into an adult being … an adult with bitterness, lust, vengeance – and deadly reasoning. Mary Shelley’s classic tale is reimagined in a spine–tingling new version by Nick Dear – not for the faint hearted.
“FRANKENSTEIN is an astonishing adaptation and it was a huge hit for the National Theatre in 2011,” says Mark Kilmurry. “The play gives the Creature a voice – this is a Creature that talks, that can be articulate about the way he feels – and the way he feels is very angry. We’ve got some exciting young talent on stage in this piece – it’s going to be something very scary indeed.”
Happiness by David Williamson. World Premiere. Director: Sandra Bates. From May 9.
Roland Makepeace knows what makes people happy.
Why wouldn’t he? He’s an eminent professor of psychology who has devoted his life to scientifically investigating human well-being. But his theories are sorely tested when his wife meets an old suitor and his daughter threatens to go right off the rails. This sharply observed comedy suggests that theory can sometimes fall well short of reality and that finding happiness is easier said than done.
According to Sandra Bates, “It’s very funny – you’ll laugh and laugh – but you’ll also empathise with the characters. What I love is the irony of this professor of happiness surrounded by unhappiness when he’s done everything right. Only David can bring us this kind of irony, and we are privileged to be able to bring David’s World Premieres to you at Ensemble.”
The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams. Director: Mark Kilmurry. Cast includes Tom Stokes. From July 11.
Amanda Wingfield wants what any mother would – a stable career for her wayward son Tom and a suitor for her fragile daughter. Her romantic sensibilities are captured by the idea that Tom’s friend might be the ideal gentleman caller. But is he simply too good to be true?
Widely regarded as one of Tennessee Williams’ most powerful and haunting plays, THE GLASS MENAGERIE is a poignant reflection on the glories of times past, with
echoes of loneliness, fragility and innocent hope.
“It’s one of my favourite pieces of work of all time,” says Mark Kilmurry.
“The characters are so intricate, so intense and yet so real. It has such truth in the writing that it’s still relevant today.
“This is a classic drama which has been revived many times and it’s easy to see why – it’s always different, it’s always the same and it’s always, always Tennessee Williams.”
Seminar by Theresa Rebeck. Australian Premiere. Director: Anna Crawford. Cast includes William Zappa, Felix Gentle and Matthew Zeremes. From August 15.
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