Start booking your tickets to Brisbane theatre folk, it’s going to be a stellar year for treading the boards in the Northern state! Launching the Queensland Theatre’s 2018 program earlier this week, Sam Strong presented an exciting, bright, fresh season that celebrates diversity and Australian stories. Contained in their programme for the new year are four world premieres, exposing new writers and talents and fostering local work.
For me the highlight of season is Melissa Bubnic’s re-imagining of Ibsen’s Hedda, starring Danielle Cormack (Rake, Underbelly Wentworth) and directed by Paige Rattray. Like the 19th century version, Hedda Gabler is railing against her life, but in this production she didn’t marry bogan drug slinger George Tesman so she could play housewife in a monstrous Gold Coast mansion with white leather couches, blingy chandeliers and endless rounds of Aperol Spritz.
At the launch I interviewed the dynamo Cormack about her 2018 Hedda, “Melissa has taken the story and completely spun it on its head, of course it’s going to be set on the Gold Coast so those who live in Queensland will be watching a show they completely relate to. Set in a contemporary world the Hedda we meet in this production is a vastly different character, still complicated and complex and nuanced but a different drive and different ambition the Hedda of Ibsen.”
I was intrigued to know if the darkness of the original character will still be present Cormack replied “Taking a character so beautifully written by a male having it rewritten by a female and massaged into 2018 there are different priorities and things like gender parity but I don’t want to give to much away …..if you think you’ve seen Hedda you ain’t seen nothing yet biatches!!”
Most people know Cormack from her work on TV how did she feel about stepping back on the stage “I have done theatre for many, many, years and I never loose that strange feeling of complete anxiety and utter excitement and joy that I get on stage and one of the most exciting relationship between the actor and the audience in that room at that time.”
POPSART Interview with Danielle Cormack
The rest of the 2018 season is a brilliant mixed bag including Black is the New White described by the writer Nakkiah Lui as “A comedy born from looking at my own family at Christmas, the play examines cross generational gaps, race, class but over dinner and wine where we can insult our family and they will still love us. Director Paige Rattray assured us that all they did was laugh during rehearsal and that laughter is definitely part of what the audience can expect on the stage.
For JT fans, The Longest Minute is a play about the 2015 Grand Final NRL Broncos vs. the Cowboys written by Robert Kronk and Nadine McDonald-Dowd directed by Bridget Boyle. Sam Strong said about the work “Sport and theatre have so much in common and I love them both: their sense of drama and spectacle, of heroes and villains, and triumphs against the odds. The last few minutes of the 2015 NRL Grand Final is almost the perfect piece of storytelling.”
David Williamsons described his world premier of Nearer The Gods as “A battle of narcissistic egos, it’s a thriller and an intense black drama.” Isaac Newton’s laws of motion are the foundation of countless human advancements, this is the story of how one of the greatest moments of scientific illumination almost didn’t happen.
Good Muslim Boy by Osamah Sami directed by Janice Muller asks the question “What does it mean to be a good Muslim boy?” You probably shouldn’t gawk at girls in bikinis or fake a medical degree. If you must be an actor, you shouldn’t play a gay man on television, or Saddam Hussein in a post 9/11 American musical. And you definitely, definitely shouldn’t leave an arranged bride at the altar.
39 Steps an adaptation of Hitchcocks film directed by Jon Halpin: described as just four actors playing a titanic cast of 139 characters, this riotous retro spy caper is performed at breakneck speed with a knowing wink to the audience and a tip of the hat to Alfred Hitchcock and Tony Hancock.
Then finally there’s Jasper Jones, the smash hit stage adaptation of the classic Australian coming of age mystery directed by Sam Strong, who is also directing Twelfth Night for the season.