A Chekhov classic bears new fruit for a world in a state of crisis

Belvoir St Theatre’s artistic director Eamon Flack remembers the moment he first read The Cherry Orchard by Russian playwright Anton Chekhov.

“It was on a verandah in Perth in my first year in drama school,” he says. “I was lying in a friend’s hammock. That was exactly 20 years ago. I remember a funny feeling of familiarity I had with it and some sort of excitement. It’s funny, I haven’t thought about that for a long time.”

Flack’s connection with the 117-year-old play, which he is directing from his own adaptation for a season at Belvoir St Theatre that starts on Saturday, came from memories of his peripatetic childhood.

Pamela Rabe - Original Photo by Janie Barrett

“My father had a knack for getting retrenched or fired, or for resigning in high dudgeon,” he says. “And so we kept having to leave where we were at. You’d connect to a place and then you get kicked out of it and you have to move on to the next one. I moved five times before I was eight and my response was just being a dreamer.” (more…)

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Pamela Rabe opens up about Wentworth and working on stage

On television she is known as Wentworth’s Joan ‘The Freak’ Ferguson. Actor PAMELA RABE, 61, splits her time between Melbourne and Tasmania and is starring in the world premiere of The Last Season as part of Sydney Festival

Before this interview I actually felt a bit nervous and realised it’s because I just binged season eight of Wentworth. How does it feel to play a character who provokes such a visceral reaction?

By the time my work meets its audience it’s always a good 6-12 months after it’s finished so I’ve generally well and truly moved on and [the reaction] takes me by surprise. Generally speaking, people are pretty good. Just occasionally I see a shift in eyes. Some people hyperventilate a little bit but I’m not sure if that’s more to do with the fact that somebody they’ve had in their loungeroom for a binge session has suddenly materialised in front of them or whether it has something to do with the terror Joan Ferguson wreaks.

Pamela Rabe | Photo by John Appleyard (2017)Pamela Rabe | Photo by John Appleyard (2017)

Thinking about one’s ability to change, is it a case of once a villain, always a villain?

Well, that would be sad, wouldn’t it? We all have a — probably never more so than now in the middle of a pandemic — a desire for things to be normal and not to change. So maybe if people want to put things in a box. I haven’t found that personally. If it’s a question of a professional “once a villain, always a villain”, that’s certainly not been the case. I’m lucky enough to work across a lot of different media doing a lot of different roles that stretch me in different ways. But I don’t ever take for granted the great gift and privilege it was to play that villain. I’m certainly not the first person to say villains are wonderful to play. (more…)

Continue ReadingPamela Rabe opens up about Wentworth and working on stage