Pamela Rabe in His Girl Friday

His Girl Friday

Pamela Rabe and Philip Quast star in John Guare’s adaptation of Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur’s original play The Front Page, and the screen version, His Girl Friday, the screwball 1930s comic classic; a cynical satire on tabloid journalism. Aidan Fennessy will direct sixteen actors in this sparkling new production which delivers the best of both wise-cracking worlds. His Girl Friday opens Thursday 16 August 2012 at 8pm at the Arts Centre, Playhouse.

Lured back into the Chicago newsroom on the eve of her impending nuptials, ace reporter Hildy Johnson finds herself on the biggest story of the year. She has had enough of the hustle, bustle and sleaze of the Chicago newspaper game; she’s ready to throw it all away to catch the midnight train east to marry her handsome and cashed-up fiancé Bruce Baldwin. She wants to discover what it truly means to be a lady of leisure … but that was before the fattest, juiciest scoop of all time, lands splat in her lap.

Pamela Rabe | His Girl Friday | Photo by Jeff Busby
‘All three of us are great admirers of this period’s genre of big, classic screwball comedy. For me there’s something intoxicating about fast, wise-cracking satire. I love its high style. It’s just about my favourite period of American comedy writing. For this stage version of His Girl Friday, John Guare has adapted the original play, The Front Page, with an eye on the movie, and a few toes in the twenty-first century. It’s still set in the 1930s but the elements he has tweaked are very topical now, especially about the amorality in certain parts of the media; its hilarious satire absolutely pins the crazy culture of the tabloid press where journos will do anything to get The Story,’ said Pamela Rabe, a member of MTC’s Season 2012 Programming Team.

John Guare is an American playwright whose career began at New York’s Caffe Cino in the 1960s during the birth of off-Broadway theatre, the experimental movement which has since developed into the cultural fabric of America. His plays include The House of Blue Leaves, which won both an Obie and the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play and later went on to win four Tony Awards; Six Degrees of Separation which received the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award and the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Play; and Two Gentleman of Verona, for which he co adapted the book with Mel Shapiro and Galt MacDermot and which also won the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award and a Tony Award for Best Musical. As a playwright in residence at the New York Shakespeare Festival, Guare wrote Landscape of the Body, Rich and Famous and Marco Polo Sings a Solo. Guare’s other plays include Bosom and Neglect which premiered at the Chicago Goodman Theater, Gardenia for the Manhattan Theatre Club and Four Baboons Adoring the Sun for the Lincoln Center.

Cast: Pamela Rabe and Philip Quast.
Creatives: Director Aidan Fennessy, Set and Costume Designer Tracy Grant Lord and Lighting Designer Matt Scott.

‘Hold the front page! His Girl Friday is a hit’ The Times
‘a magnificent spiral of conspiracy, pandemonium, bribery and panic’ London Evening Standard
‘a sharp homage to a Hollywood classic’ Variety

MTC stages the Australian premiere production starring Philip Quast and Pamela Rabe. Adapted by John Guare from The Front Page by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur and the Columbia Pictures film.

Ace reporter Hildy Johnson has had enough of the sleaze of the Chicago newspaper game. At midnight, she’s catching the train east where she’ll marry her fiancé, a handsome schlub with piles of dough. And if her ex-husband and editor Walter Burns thinks she’s going to change her mind, he’s got another thing coming. But that’s before the fattest, juiciest scoop of the year lands splat in her lap.

Screwball comedy. Hecht and MacArthur’s sly, cynical satire of tabloid journalism The Front Page was never better filmed than as the 1930s classic His Girl Friday. Merging the original play and the screen version, acclaimed playwright John Guare delivers the best of both wisecracking worlds.

Key Photography by Marcel Aucar, Production Photography by Jeff Busby. Behind-the-Scenes video by Adam Bostock, Season Launch video by Josh Burns.
These images contain a portion of the work Office Window – Shop by photographer Oliver Fluck. This work appears in the production under license and with permission.

♦ Pamela Rabe and Philip Quast are finely matched as the romantic leads: she brings heroic wit and fierce independence to the gauntlet a talented woman must run in a man’s world; he a dapper charm and fiery idealism to the newspaper editor who’d sell his own grandmother for a story. The brawling rapport they establish is a pleasure to watch.
Cameron Woodhead, The Age, 20 August 2012

♦ His Girl Friday is engrossing, and often scandalously funny. And at almost three hours long,the time raced by, which is no mean feat.
Chris Boyd, The Australian, 20 August 2012



MTC screwball comedy His Girl Friday

Pamela Rabe | Backstage 2012

His Girl Friday
is a 1940 screwball comedy starring Cary Grant as a wily newspaper editor named Walter Burns and a very brisk Rosalind Russell as his ex-wife, ace reporter named Hildy Johnson. The film is set in Chicago in the bad old days. It opens with Hildy telling Walter that she’s tossing in the newspaper game and leaving Chicago. She’s decided to marry a quiet, dependable man named Bruce Baldwin and live with him and his mother in upstate New York. In fact, the three of them are leaving Chicago on the train that night. Suddenly Walter sees Hildy as the wife and reporter he can’t live without and he embarks on a madcap campaign to win her back before the end of the day. The film, directed by Howard Hawks, has been reworked as a play now on at the Melbourne Theatre Company. The very elegant and funny Pamela Rabe plays Hildy and the director is Aidan Fennessy.

Source: | 20. August 2012

Photos by Marcel Aucar, Jeff Busby, Ves, MTC