A message from our
Artistic Director Kip Williams
A year delving into memory and reflecting our city as it is today.
They say our personal memory of history only extends as far back as our grandparents. That this is why humanity repeats its mistakes. But theatre holds its memory in text – reminding us of what we might otherwise forget. In 2020, we put this to the test by reflecting on the past through the lens of the present. What does the middle of the twentieth century tell us about our world today? What did we know then that we have since forgotten? What hasn’t changed? How have we grown?
We start in post-war London with Terence Rattigan’s The Deep Blue Sea, directed by Paige Rattray, our Associate Director. Marta Dusseldorp joins us in the central role, a married woman whose longing for true passion has pushed her beyond the bounds of polite society. It’s a story of love, of longing, and of feeling like an outsider even in your own home. And while polite society may have expanded its boundaries, the play is still startlingly revelatory.
We end the year in 1950s Brooklyn. Playwright Arthur Miller has given us some of the great tragic heroes of modern theatre, but none are quite as complex or poignant as Eddie Carbone in A View from the Bridge. It’s a herculean role and we will be blessed with one of the best stage actors on the planet, Bobby Cannavale, starring alongside his real-life partner, Rose Byrne. I’m really looking forward to directing this one – fireworks feels like an understatement for this tale of family, betrayal and misplaced desire.
Between those two mid-century bookends, we also delve into our own country’s memory with two plays in particular. Angus Cerini’s Wonnangatta, directed by our newly promoted Resident Director Jessica Arthur, has Hugo Weaving and Wayne Blair playing two bushmen in the 1910s. The play looks unsparingly at the conjoined myths of Australian masculinity and mateship. It’s poetic, riveting and masterful language. For The 7 Stages of Grieving by Wesley Enoch and Deborah Mailman, actor and Richard Wherrett Fellow Shari Sebbens (Black is the New White) steps up to direct. The play is an Australian classic, but it’s also one of the plays from STC’s history that I vividly remember seeing as a teenager – it was inspiring, with a knock-out emotional punch, and it tells a story of our country that remains desperately current.
In Home, I’m Darling, we return to our mid-century theme, with a play that quite literally looks back at the 1950s housewife through a contemporary lens. In Fun Home, a woman looks back at her life to unpick her relationship with her father and her sexuality. And, in The Picture of Dorian Gray, I’ll be directing Eryn Jean Norvill in a radical adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s novel, laying bare our current obsessions with image, youth, and perception. Meanwhile, in The Writer and Triple X, we tackle familiar mid-century themes around creative struggle and family secrets but with decidedly contemporary voices telling their stories.
All this and much more. It’s a year brimming with fantastic writing, electric performances and beautiful designs – all we need now, is you. I hope you’ll join us for this great year of theatre.