Rabe, who was born near Toronto and raised in Vancouver, came to Australia in 1982 as a 22-year-old who had just graduated from drama school.
Since then, she has worked in almost 50 Australian stage productions, eight TV series and six movies, including her role in The Well for which she won the Australian Film Institute’s best-actress award in 1996.
Then on May 14, the morning after the curtain comes down on Leenane, Rabe, 40, will fly back to Canada to spend four months at the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.
She will be in George Bernard Shaw’s The Apple Cart,directed by her former tutor Christopher Newton, and also in the one-woman play, A Room of One’s Own,based on the Virginia Woolf novel.
Rabe won the Sydney Critics Circle best-actress award last year for the same play.
She says she’s excited about returning to Canada for the longest period since she left as a young woman “with everything ahead of me.”
“It’s going to be an odd cultural connection, but it will really join up all the dots for me,” she told Brisbane’s Courier-Mail newspaper. “I’ve got seven brothers and sisters and a mother waiting there for me.
“I sense the gathering of relatives like a thundering herd across the prairie — all intending to come and stay with me.”
Rabe is married to Australian theatre director Roger Hodgman, a former director of the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre, where she performed as a student.
When Hodgman decided to return to Australia in 1982 to take a post as head of drama at the Victoria College of the Arts in Melbourne, he invited Rabe to come with him.
“Roger had seduced me with a number of really interesting Australian movies that were out at that time,” says Rabe, who is now an Australian citizen.
Scans by Amy Johnson