Happy Birthday Hugo! More 1987 & 2012 Liaisons Goodies

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.

It’s officially Hugo Weaving’s birthday… I know he won’t be reading this or any of the internet fan celebrations, but I hope he has a good one nonetheless. 🙂

It’ll be a working holiday for Hugo this year as we count down the final hours before the official premiere of STC’s Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Still no photos from the new production yet, but that could change at any minute, so stay tuned. 😉 Meanwhile, a cavalcade of great material from the 1987 Nimrod production continues to appear online as some kind Sydney-area archivists and journalists share some of their old clippings.

This photo was posted on Twitter by both STC and Elissa Blake, who’s conducted some of the better Hugo Weaving interviews in recent years, including this one in the Sydney Morning Herald. Blake also posted a longer version of her recent conversation with Hugo on her personal blog, along with some great scans from three newspapers covering the 1987 production. (Blake credits  Dr Peter Orlovich at the SBW Foundation Library for these goodies.)

Some of the extra material Blake shared touched on Hugo’s bemused reaction to some of these early press descriptions of his character, as well as his conflicted devotion to acting:

‘….There’s clearly something of the actor himself in his Valmont. In between gigs, Weaving prefers to spend his time out of the spotlight on his rural property on the Williams River near Dungog, three hours north of Sydney.

“There have been times when I felt like I would love to just stop [acting] and do something else. But that just causes me to think, well, what would I do?’ I love being up on the property planting trees and working the land. Sometimes I think I could very happily do that but if I seriously decided to chuck it all in, I think I would get very … I would miss something, a lot.”

Whatever reservations Weaving has about his first performance as the aristocratic seducer at the centre of Christopher Hampton’s 1985 play, they weren’t shared by the critics at the time. The Herald’s H.G. Kippax wrote of Weaving: “Here is command, relish and panache, all combining to show us intellect without scruple, going into action with the deadly precision of a tiger.”

Weaving is thinking of Valmont in less carnivorous terms these days.

“He’s more like a river than some kind of animal,” says Weaving. “There’s a fluidity about Valmont, an ability to get past whatever obstacles are in his way. If there’s suddenly a lot of rocks put in his path, he will flow over and around them. He has a desire not to hurry; to enjoy. He doesn’t want to conquer a woman; he wants her to come to him. There are times when that river will become very lazy and meandering and other times when it feels like it’s rushing headlong and the other person is caught up in this, you know, irresistible power of his.”…’

Hugo’s castmate in Liaisons (and in the 2004 and 2006 productions of Hedda Gabler) Justine Clarke was also recently interviewed about the play; you can read her thoughts at Gay News Network. Hugo’s other leading ladies in the play, Pamela Rabe and Geraldine Hakewell, are interviewed in Time Out Sydney and Alternative Media Group, respectively.

I hope to have more great stuff to share as soon as possible; we’re literally about 24 hours away from the Liaisons opening night.


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