Pamela Rabe freaking out over evil role

Freaking Out Over Evil Role

The reinvention of a classic Aussie TV drama has given respected actor Pamela Rabe a chance to show her strengths

Actor Pamela Rabe, right, says she “burst out laughing° when the phone call came through to see if she would accept the role as Joan “The Freak” Ferguson on the hit Foxtel series Wentworth.

“I think because of my physical stature, I am often cast as strong women, which sadly often relates to evil women. In away I’m used to being approached to playing these kind of nasty villains,” says Pamela, who has actually starred opposite Prisoner’s original “Joan”, Maggie Kirkpatrick, inset picture, and counts her as a good friend.

“The whole thing had a wonderful sense of symmetry about it,” Pamela says.

Pamela Rabe | Freaking out over evil role

But despite being close to Maggie, Pamela says the two versions of the “Freak” character are worlds apart. “I’m not a student of the original Prisoner, so I will leave it to the audience to compare the two, but I can say that always when you have different actors interpreting roles there will be certain characteristics that each person will bring,” Pamela says.

“What’s wonderful about Wentworth, as it was for Prisoner, is when you create a series set in an environment like this with a predominantly female cast it means that you are dipping into a very strong vein of talent. They’ve pulled in actors from all mediums and they’re all brave, strong performers.”

Pamela, who has worked with the State Theatre Company of SA, says we might even see her back in Adelaide soon. “I’ve been in conversations with Geordie and Rob Brookman (from STC) looking for opportunities to collaborate again,” she says.

Wentworth premieres on Foxtel on May 20.

Source: Sunday Mail | 18 May 2014


Pamela Rabe joins Wentworth

Wentworth Season 2’s New Governor Gets Sadistic

Cruelty, sadism – it’s all there in the new governor’s hairstyle.

“Give me the stuff of nightmares.”

That was Pamela Rabe’s suggestion to hair and make-up artist Troy Follington when it came to creating the hairdo of Wentworth Detention Centre’s formidable new governor, Joan Ferguson.

Pamela Rabe as Joan Ferguson in Wentworth‘The menace of quixotic tyranny’: Pamela Rabe (right) recreates Joan Ferguson in season two of Wentworth. | Photo by Ben King

They played around with a few different styles, before they realised that of all the Wentworth characters that owe their ancestry to the original Prisoner, Joan was the one whose accessorising bordered on the iconic.

The original Joan ”The Freak” Ferguson had a pair of black leather gloves, which she would ceremoniously don to conduct her infamous body searches.

It was a signature of the humiliating, cruel, yet random power that The Freak exercised over her minions.

Read More

Pamela Rabe locked on a new Joan Ferguson

Pamela Rabe locked on a new Joan Ferguson

Pamela Rabe is as ready as she can be for the reaction that is about to follow for her debut as Joan Ferguson on Wentworth.

Mindful that Maggie Kirkpatrick’s original creation of the role in the iconic Prisoner would elicit hostile reactions from fans on the street, she concedes, “I’m sure even this incarnation of the 21st century Joan Ferguson is going to piss a lot of people off.”

But what a role to play.

“With this character being so iconic in its creation, the execution in Maggie’s hands and peoples’ memories of how Officer Joan Ferguson existed, I get the sense that how Joan Ferguson, now Governor, enters into the prison environment is with a few more noticeable nods to the original creation,” she says.

“So you will see black gloves, an element of a fairly delicious disjunct with what people would consider a ‘sociable emotion of feeling’ and her strategies and objectives.

“She’s described by some other characters as a psychopath. There’s something in the way Joan has risen amongst the ranks that taps into those original characteristics of Joan Ferguson.”

Rabe hadn’t seen the first season of Wentworth when she was approached for the role, but she had seen some of Prisoner on Canadian TV where she grew up.

“They used to play Prisoner: Cell Block H on television, right after Don Lane, late night.

“They went to 24 hour programming before Australia so there was a lot of hours to fill.

“By the time I arrived in 1983 it was already part of Australian culture.

“I was aware of the characters, and particularly Joan Ferguson, enough to know I needn’t have any hesitation.” Read More

Pamela Rabe | The Drawing Room 2013 Interview

Chekhov for children? Pamela Rabe | The Drawing Room Interview

Pamela Rabe is starring in a contemporary version of The Cherry Orchard and writer Danny Katz has just released a new book for young adults called Mucked Up.

They join Waleed Aly in The Drawing Room to chew the cud on Chekhov and children’s books and all things Canadian.

Image: Danny Katz, Pamela Rabe and Waleed Aly (Barbara Heggen, ABC)Danny Katz, Pamela Rabe and Waleed Aly (Barbara Heggen, ABC)

Source: | 31 July 2013

Pamela Rabe & Philip Quast in "His Girl Friday"

MAKE IT SNAPPY – Pamela Rabe & Philip Quast about “His Girl Friday”


NOBODY says “Stop the presses!” any more. But they do in the theatre. In His Girl Friday, hardboiled newspaper editor Walter Bums leans into an upright telephone and barks out the immortal words: “Listen to me, I want you to tear out the whole front page. That’s what I said, the whole front page!”

In the same play, ace reporter Hildy Johnson tells her boss: “The paper’ll have to learn to do without me . . . I’m through … peeking through keyholes, running after fire engines, waking people up in the middle of the night.”

“It is language from another era,” actor Pamela Rabe tells me, “but it is delicious.”

Rabe plays Johnson and Philip Quast is Burns in a new Melbourne Theatre Company production of His Girl Friday. And meeting these expert actors at Little Press, a bar on Flinders St, they look the part — as if they’ve just walked out of a Chicago newsroom in the 1930s.

Pamela Rabe & Philip Quast | Photos by Ben SwinnertonMore importantly, Rabe and Quast sound right They’re relishing the rapid-fire repartee penned by former Chicago journalists Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, and finding the pace that powered Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell in the celebrated 1940 Hollywood version.

Quast says of Howard Hawks’ famous screwball comedy: “Its fast, all right At the time of the movie, it must have been a bit shocking to audiences. They’d never really experienced that before.”

Rabe agrees: “I think what the writers wanted to replicate was the sound of a newsroom. That cacophony of typewriting and chatter. Today, of course, you’d say it goes at the speed of tweets.”

Sounds like verbal ping pong …
Rabe: “More like tennis, really.”
Quast: “Yeah. There are definite baseline rallies.
“Then we move to the net where there are volleys … and that’s a different rhythm. Boom, boom, boom.
“Someone scores a point. Next serve.”
Rabe: “Stretching the tennis analogy, there are times when there are almost 15 people on stage and then it’s not singles or doubles … its a very crowded court.” Read More

Lunch with Pamela Rabe

Lunch with Pamela Rabe: reserved and revealing

PAMELA Rabe is one of those actors, like Robyn Nevin, whose performances are so invariably intoxicating that I sign up to see her regardless of the production she’s in. Well, almost. I didn’t leap to see The Wizard of Oz but that’s just me being a chronic snob. Rabe, who is not, and who played the Wicked Witch of the West in that exceptionally popular musical, rated it a career highlight.

I can imagine her relishing the chance to be wicked. She has a palpably mischievous streak, a sharp mind, a keen wit, a coy way of arching her splendidly shaped brows and of slipping phrases such as ”f—ability factor” into conversation with such refinement you’re left wondering if you heard right.

Lunch with Pamela RabeRabe is a delectable combination of reserved and revealing, polished and provocative. Today she’s wearing a feline-sleek, tailored black pants suit with a silky shirt that plunges to such depths that one must make a mental note not to look. Sitting on a plump, leather banquette, she effortlessly commands attention. The ah, X-factor, she’s still got it, even at 52 , even though she says her looks have never defined her as an actor.

”In fact, the only thing I would consider as an advantage is that I tend to have fairly flexible looks that change. I’m not known for my face, which is a great privilege, I say.” Read More

Pamela Rabe | Radio National Artworks

Artworks: Grey Gardens

One of the most extraordinary documentary films ever made is Grey Gardens. This was made in 1975 by the brothers David and Albert Maysles.

Grey Gardens achieved cult status because it brought to life two reclusive, eccentric women—a mother and daughter—living in a decaying mansion on Long Island, New York.

Some thirty years later, and after their deaths, Edith Bouvier Beale—Big Edie—and her daughter—Little Edie—became the subject of a Hollywood film with Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore, and a Broadway musical, both also called Grey Gardens.

The musical Grey Gardens is being performed for the first time in Australia, at the Victorian Arts Centre in Melbourne, and it’s starring two of the most loved and distinguished women of Australian theatre: Nancye Hayes, and Pamela Rabe.

Pamela Rabe as Little Edie| Grey GardensPamela Rabe as Little Edie| Grey Gardens


Pamela Rabe | ABC Local Interview | Grey Gardens

Communism, delusion and art – fascinating combinations

PAMELA RABE, one of three people handpicked to program next year’s MTC season. She also stars in a new production of ‘Grey Gardens‘, based on a true story of ‘how the mighty have fallen’ – also a fascinating look into self delusion. Pamela plays little Edie, and Nancye Hayes plays Edith Bouvier Beale, they were Jackie O’s Aunt and cousin, who used to be filthy rich and swanky and moved in the highest society. But they hit hard times and sank into delusion. The house became a junk full of feral cats and they became reclusives. ‘Grey Gardens’ opens on 25 November til 4 Dec, 12 performances only at the Arts Centre Playhouse.

Jon’s co-host Stuart Littlemore is a barrister, author and former Media Watch host, also speaking tonight (10 November) at the Wheeler Centre for Law Week, it’s a free event at 6.15pm (in the south wing of the State Library).

FRANK MOORHOUSE, prizewinning author. He started as a newspaper copy boy – now his mantlepiece includes a Miles Franklin, a Walkley, the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award and the National Award for Fiction. His new book ‘ Cold Light’ is the final volume of his epic trilogy (a companion to Grand Days and Dark Palace).

Stuart Littlemore, Frank Moorhouse, Pamela Rabe (Samantha Stayner - ABC Local Radio)Stuart Littlemore, Frank Moorhouse, Pamela Rabe (ABC Local Radio)

ABC Local