The Present

For our New Year’s Eve.

Any suspicion this would be a one-woman show, was proven wrong; the Aussies know a thing or two about team work. But what a delight to watch Cate Blanchett live on stage! If nothing else, to reaffirm what a phenomenal actress she is – being the heart and soul of the play yet a convincing member of the team.  Albeit a leading one.

Playbill excerpt : ”Variously known as Platonov, Wild Honey, Fatherlessness, and The Disinherited, Chekhov’s first play was not discovered until 1920, some 16 years after the playwright’s death. Upton’s adaptation, according to press notes, is set “post-Perestroika in the mid-1990s at an old country house where friends gather to celebrate the birthday of the independent but compromised widow Anna Petrovna (Blanchett). At the center is the acerbic and witty Platonov (Roxburgh) with his wife, his former students and friends and their partners. They may appear comfortable, but boiling away inside is a mess of unfinished, unresolved relationships, fueled by twenty years of denial, regret and thwarted desire.”

There were certainly fireworks during the play. And gunshots. And aggravation and awkwardness. The full friend & family real-life drama that is an integral part of a Russian soul.

Matched only with the end-of-year Times Square closure-for-the-festivities drama, because of which at least a quarter of the theatre-goers kept arriving well into the play.

The Sydney Theatre Company performed ”The Present” by Anton Chekhov in a new adaptation by Andrew Upton.

Barrymore Theatre, Broadway

December 31st, 2016

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