Updates on Uncle Vanya, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Voiceless

Note: This is an archived entry that’s over two years old. While I have ensured that all photos are restored, some links may no longer work. If you encounter any dead links, let me know and I’ll try to find a copy of the material.

There hasn’t been a lot of breaking news about Hugo Weaving lately; he took an extended break after filming wrapped on Cloud Atlas (in December) and he’s now about a week into rehearsals for Sydney Theatre Company’s new production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, which costars Pamela Rabe, Justine Clarke and Heather Mitchell. (All of whom have played opposite Hugo in film or onstage before, coincidentally.)

Not many new details about STC’s new twist on the old favorite have been released, but the best source for breaking news will probably be STC’s Blog; they’ve already posted reports on  the play’s director, Sam Strong, on the music, and an overview of the Pierre Choderlos de Laclos novel and Christopher Hampton play, and the many film and stage adaptations of both over the years. By all accounts the new production will eschew the ornate period costume drama trappings of past versions to focus more intimately on the characters and their various schemes. There was recently an interview with playwright Christopher Hampton in The Australian. It’s not readily available online unless you’re a subscriber, but you can read a scan of the print version here: Page 1, Page 2. Alas, no cast interviews or production stills yet, apart from the delicious promo photos of Weaving and Rabe such as the one below. That should change as the play’s opening date (March 31) approaches, so watch this space for updates.

Photo by James Green; STC

Hugo’s previous dramatic role, as the seductive Astrov in Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, is also still getting a lot of positive attention. The STC’s adaptation of the play, which had runs in Sydney in 2010 and Washington DC in 2011 has been nominated for several Helen Hayes Awards for the latter. The Hayes Awards celebrate theatrical productions in the metro-Washington DC area; Vanya was nominated in several categories for “Non-resident productions”, including Best Actor for Richard Roxburgh, Best Actress for Cate Blanchett, and the gender-neutral “Best Supporting Performer” category for Hugo Weaving and Hayley McElhinney. All are well-deserving, though I would argue only Roxburgh is a lead performer in the production; McElhinney and Blanchett have about equal stage time, and their characters are of equal importance. In fact it’s truly an ensemble piece which depends on excellence from the entire cast for its dramatic fireworks to combust properly.  Some critics are sniping that Blanchett probably won’t attend the ceremony, but that’s petty of them. The awards should go to the best work, no matter how famous or obscure the actor. 😉 I personally thought this was one of the best theatrical experiences of my life, and I don’t say that lightly. You can read more about the Helen Hayes Awards in The Ausralian, The Daily Telegraph, DCist, The Washington Post, theatrewashington.org and TheaterMania. The Australian reports confirm the welcome news that the entire cast of the Sydney and Washington engagements will reteam for the play’s New York/Lincoln Center run this coming July 19 -28. I’ll post more information about that run and ticket sales as it becomes available. (Lincoln Center has said they’ll announce the Lincoln Center Festival info sometime “in early spring.”)  The Helen Hayes Awards wil be announced on April 23.

Hugo Weaving with Hayley McElhinney in the Washington DC production; photo: Amanda Voisard, Washington Post

Finally, I wanted to post Hugo’s recent PSA for the animal welfare organization Voiceless again, in case anyone missed it…

The TV spots featuring Hugo and fellow Voiceless ambassador Abbie Cornish have made quite a splash in Australia. For further details, read The Sydney Morning Herald, Mumbrella, National Rural News, Tambourine Mountain Daily Star, B&T, Australian Animals Unleashed and of course Voiceless’s web page.


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