Red Stitch has announced its first season under the stewardship of new artistic director Ella Caldwell.
She continues the honourable Red Stitch tradition of premiering the latest plays from the United Kingdom and the United States, mixed also with a few works by Australians.
The season features Australian and Victorian premiers from American playwrights Amy Herzog, Annie Baker, Sarah Ruhl, Brooke Berman and George Brant. As well as the Victorian premier of UK playwright Cat Jones's Glory Dazed.
Local playwright Jean Bodie will also see the Victorian premier of her play This Year's Ashes.
One novelty in the program, is a devised collaboration with the team behind independent company ARTHUR, on a new project involving five Australian writers.
Another innovation is the move to a full twelve-month season, rather the previous policy of breaking the year into two separate half-year seasons.
"Although we've always only done half seasons at a time," says Caldwell, "I was reading so much great stuff, with so many things on the table that I loved, it felt restrictive to only lock in six months at a time. There were so many people I wanted to work with."
Locking in a full year of shows means more scope for collaboration, something that Red Stitch hasn't been renowned for in the past.
"It helps with getting the balance of the season right," says Caldwell. "And, logistically, programming further in advance makes it easier to plan site-specific work, to organise tours, and to have conversations with festivals and other companies about potential collaborations."
Subscribers can still sign up for half a year, or they can go with the full twelve-month subscription.
Out of the Water, by Brooke Berman
5 Feb-8 Mar
The world premiere of a new play by New York-based playwright Brooke Berman. It's a story about family and Manhattan. Graham, a contemporary Odysseus on a personal quest, is detained by the fearless Polly, his modern-day Calypso.
"This is one of the few plays in the season that was brought to me by the director," says Caldwell. "Nadia Tass who has worked with us before, and is also directing The Flick later in the year, found Out of the Waterduring a trip to the US a few years ago. The human vulnerability that comes out of the play is completely fascinating."
This Year's Ashes, by Jean Bodie
19 Mar-19 Apr
Ellen moves from the gloom of Melbourne to the glitter of Sydney for a glamorous new job. Things don't work out so well, however. She hates her job, doesn't have any friends and misses her mum. It's a romantic comedy about strangers, sex and cricket.
"Tim Roseman, the director, is particularly in love with the play," says Caldwell. "And I think it's a play that Melbourne audiences really need to see. A lot of Australian plays only get seen in one state and we thought this one, like many other Australian plays, really needed a second life."
This Year's Ashes premiered at Sydney's Griffin Theatre in 2011.
"It's very Australian," says Caldwell, "but it's a lot bigger than that, it's very funny, but it's also a very lyrical play."
Belleville, by Amy Herzog
30 Apr-31 May
"I stumbled across Herzog's 4000 Miles two years ago when we were looking for shows for the 2013 season," says Caldwell, "and thought it was spectacular. I really felt we had an affinity with her as a writer, so we immediately started looking for more of her work to do."
It's Paris, and it's Christmas. Abby and Zack are living the bohemian life and discovering things about one another that they would rather not have known.
"It's almost a thriller," says Caldwell, "which is quite unusual for theatre. So it's quite exciting. We'll also have two guest actors, playing two French Senegalese, along with two ensemble members."
Grounded, by George Brant
11 Jun-12 Jul
There is a lot of buzz around this one-woman play by Minneapolis's George Brant, a show about an F16 pilot who sees her career stall when she falls pregnant. It was a huge hit at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
"We're working with Tanya Dickson at the moment with NSFW," says Caldwell. "When I first read Grounded I immediately thought of her. Then when I first approached her, she was really, really pumped. She'd already seen the Edinburgh production, and had loved it so much that she'd gone and read the script. So it was a brilliant coincidence, and a bit of a dream for everyone."
Glory Dazed, by Cat Jones
23 Jul-23 Aug
Ray is a veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and he's having trouble readjusting to civilian life. A violent, misogynist bully, he is nonetheless desperate to win back his ex-wife, leading to a tense standoff at a local pub.
Eurydice, by Sarah Ruhl
3 Sep- 4 Oct
A retelling of the Orpheus myth from the perspective of Eurydice, the wife who Orpheus went into the Underworld to rescue. A tale about love and loss and lyres.
The Flick, by Annie Baker
Limited season during the Melbourne International Film Festival (August, dates to be confirmed)
Following their beautiful production of Baker's The Aliens, Red Stitch team up with the Melbourne International Film Festival to present The Flick, and gentle drama about three underpaid employees at a sleepy cinema in Massachusettes, and also a quiet lament for the disappearance of the old 35mm projector cinemas.
"She's a playwright that I love and have been following for a long time," says Caldwell. "When I heard about this play I though, wouldn't this be a great play to do in a site-specific so that's something that we're trying to set up now, perhaps in a cinema or cinema foyer. The play lends itself to that very much."
The Mesh, by Paige Rattray
15 Oct-8 Nov
ARTHUR make both devised work and text-based work. Here they are doing both, teaming up with five writers and the Red Stitch ensemble to create a surreal, outback adventure, through deserts and bush, over mountains and rivers.
"It's a perfect fit for us because ARTHUR already work regularly with an ensemble of actors," says Caldwell.
19 Nov-20 Dec
In the same way that the MTC left a slot open in their 2013 program, Red Stitch are keeping their options open for the last production of the year. Look out for an announcement mid 2014.
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