From cackling with glee on a broomstick to playing the fiery Kate in ‘The Taming of the Shrew’, Pamela Rabe controls the message she gives.
At First I didn’t recognise Pamela Rabe. The last time I saw the Canadian-born actress she wore a tall, pointy black hat, a chin to match, and an evil grin. That was five months ago when she stole the show as the Wicked Witch of the West in the ‘Wizard of Oz’, cackling with glee as she careened about on her broomstick.
Now, with her hair in a brunette page-boy style, Ms Rabe sat demurely sipping an iced coffee and studying a script of Shakespeare’s ‘Taming of the Shrew’, in which she will play the fiery Kate (or Katharina).
Although she began acting in Vancouver, Pamela Rabe’s career began in earnest eight years ago in Melbourne as an aspiring 23-year-old. She moved into the dramatic mainstream, appearing predominantly with the Melbourne Theatre Company, and has become one of Australia’s most accomplished stage performers. Recent appearances here have included leads in ‘As You Like It’, ‘Cho Cho San’, ‘The Heidi Chronicles’ and last November’s ‘A Moon for the Misbegotten’.
In Vancouver, Ms Rabe had worked with director and husband-to-be Roger Hodgman, and accompanied him to Melbourne when he took up the post of lead of drama at the Victorian College of the Arts. After Mr Hodgman was appointed associate artistic director at the MTC and eventually took over the company’s helm from John Sumner, Ms Rabe became uneasy about the possibility of being regarded as “Mrs Hodgman” each time she was cast in an MTC production.
A few of Pamela Rabe’s many stage guises: Kate (second from right), in shades and bridal beil, is the latest in the MTC’s 1950s-style ‘The Taming of the Shrew’
(Photo by The Age)
Thus, 18 months ago, she decided to base herself in Sydney. She landed major roles in the Sydney Theatre Company’s ‘The Ham Funeral’, ‘The Secret Rapture’ and ‘The Three Sisters’, as well as ‘The Rover’. Now, having established her stage credentials beyond dispute (and to her own satisfaction) in both cities, Pamela Rabe is back with the MTC, at least until September. Read More