The Sydney Theatre Company has announced the members of its long-awaited, full-time actors’ ensemble.
Known as the Actors Company, it includes Melbourne actors Pamela Rabe, Dan Spielman, Marco Chiappi, and Deborah Mailman, who, with John Gaden, Brandon Burke, Peter Carroll, Marta Dusseldorp, Eden Falk and Hayley McElhinney, will be employed for two years, full-time. Another two members will be appointed later this year.
The STC is the only state company in the country to have a full-time ensemble.
While the move is a blessing for actors, the company’s 2006 season proves that Australian playwrights are an endangered species.
There is only one new Australian play (down from three this year) among the STC’s season of 12 plays. The honour goes to Campion Decent’s Embers, a piece of “verbatim theatre” based on interviews with residents of north-eastern Victoria about the 2003 bushfires.
STC’s artistic director Robyn Nevin is clearly a fan of the traditional play – the rest of the season is a revival of classics or comes courtesy of proven hits from the big boys on the West End and Broadway.
The season (all 12 shows were either written or created by men) includes Woman in Mind by Alan Ayckbourn, David Hare’s translation of Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children, Alan Bennett’s The History Boys (this will be staged by its original National Theatre cast from London, directed by Nicholas Hytner) and Harold Pinter’s A Kind of Alaska.
Nevin offered Blanchett a directing role after directing her in Hedda Gabler last year: Blanchett reminded her of herself when she was a young actress.
Fresh from Broadway success comes John Patrick Shanley’s 2005 Tony-winning play, Doubt, directed by the Melbourne Theatre Company’s Julian Meyrick, which indicates it will be in next year’s MTC season (to be announced next week).
Stellar Broadway is also represented by Tony-awarded American actor Jefferson Mays performing US writer Doug Wright’s 2004 Pulitzer prize-winner I Am My Own Wife .
Revivals also include Moliere’s The Bourgeois Gentleman, directed by Jean-Pierre Mignon.
The Actor’s Company will perform in this play, as well as in Mother Courage and The Lost Echo.
|Venue||Sydney Theatre, Millers Point, NSW|
|Umbrella Event||Sydney Theatre Company Season 2006|
|First Date||13 November 2006|
|Opening Date||18 November 2006|
|Last Date||9 December 2006|
|Description||The bourgeois gentleman is Jourdain; nouveau riche, boor, rat-cunning, but painfully aware of his lack of gentility. He employs a bewildering array of consultants to teach him the trappings of a true gentleman; philosophers, tailors, dancing instructors, fencing coaches all come and go in a rapid sequence of scenes that tear strips off the pretensions and foibles of the times.|
Photos/Scans: Tracey Schramm and Tamsyn Strike