Waiting For Godot STC Rehearsal Photos; Hugo Weaving, Richard Roxburgh Interviews; The Turning in NZ

Vogue Australia posted a batch of lovely photos covering a rehearsal dinner for Sydney Theatre Company’s production of Waiting For Godot, which opens later this month. Lead actors Hugo Weaving and Richard Roxburgh shared insights into the often-trying rehearsal process. Costar Philip Quast and director Andrew Upton were also on hand. I’ll post the Hugo pics and quotes below, but you should check out the original piece (text by Mark Sariban, photos by Natalie Page) too.

L to R: Associate director Anna Lengyel, director Andrew Upton, and Godot actors Philip Quast, Richard Roxburgh and Hugo Weaving. Photo: Natalie Page/Vogue Australia

Photo: Natalie Page/Vogue Australia

From the article: ‘Hugo Weaving, who plays Vladimir, said they’d had a particularly hard time of it that day, before confessing that he found that week – the third week – of the rehearsal period the most challenging. Richard Roxburgh, who plays Estragon, the other main character, interjected: “Weeks one, two, four, five and six are pretty difficult, too!”… Richard Roxburgh revealed that he and his fellow actors began rehearsals continually second-guessing how the absent Tamás Ascher would eventually direct them in each scene, until it was confirmed that, like Godot, Ascher would not be coming.’

Areial view of the dining table Photo: Natalie Page/Vogue Australia

The STC production begins preview performances November 12 and runs through December 1 at the Sydney Theatre. Tickets and info available at STC’s website.  If you’re in the US and unable to make the Sydney version, and are within reasonable distance of New York, I do encourage you to try and see the Patrick Stewart/Ian McKellen production if you can. I know Hugo and Richard at their best might have the chops to equal these actors, but it’s hard to imagine anyone surpassing them.  I was lucky enough to catch the November 3 performance and am still in awe. This version runs through early March in repertory with Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land at Broadway’s Cort Theater. More details and tickets available here. Hugo himself saw an earlier version of this production at the Sydney Opera House back in 2010; it also ran in London earlier, where it was filmed for the documentary Theatremania. Both productions have some discounted rush seats available for some performances; again, check out the websites in question for specifics.
Ian McKellen and Hugo Weaving after a performance of McKellen’s Godot in 2010Hugo Weaving was also quoted in an interview/preview piece about Godot in Gay News Network. Hugo discussing the complication of original director Tamas Ascher being unable to come to Sydney:’As Weaving says, it’s a start Samuel Beckett would have been delighted with. “It was quite absurd,” he tells SX. “First Tamás was delayed; then he was delayed again; and then he wasn’t coming at all!”

After working with Ascher on STC’s 2010 production of Uncle Vanya – also alongside Roxburgh – Weaving admits to approaching their second outing together with liberal dose of dread. “We had a really fascinating time with him on Vanya,” he says. But it was very difficult – very, very, very difficult – for all sorts of reasons. He’s a singular man, he’s brilliant, there’s an enormous amount of respect for him for what he does – but he’s very hard on you.”
Nevertheless, the genesis of this production of Godot can in fact be traced back to the rehearsal period for Uncle Vanya. It seems in many ways it was meant to be.
“Tamás was laughing at Richard and I doing a scene of Vanya, and he stopped rehearsals and said ‘You two should play Vladimir and Estragon one day!’ And then that same day Andrew [Upton] said to me, ‘I have this great idea – we should get Tamás to direct you and Roxy in Waiting for Godot… What do you think?’ And I said, ‘Have you been talking to him?’ And apparently he hadn’t…”

…“Beckett taps into this constant question we all have of ‘Why am I doing anything?’” Weaving muses. “Why am I doing this? What’s the point of this? How much of what you do is just actually taking up time – a pastime, literally a pastime. And how much of it is essential to your life? I’m often caught in those questions!” ‘ (Article text: Garret Bithell)

In case you missed Elissa Blake’s longer, excellent interview about Godot and profile piece on Hugo in the Sydney Morning Herald, I posted scans of the print version in my prior entry, and you can also read it in on SMH’s websiteThe Daily Telegraph interviewed Richard Roxburgh about the production as well. STC posted a colorful profile of playwright Samuel Beckett on their blog.

And if you wanted a smaller, more manageable version of James Brickwood’s  wonderful cover shot for the SMH article, the photographer kindly obliged, posting this to Twitter:

Tim Winton’s The Turning

Following its successful “special” full-length arthouse run in Australia over the past month, The Turning has now opened in New Zealand to mostly-positive reviews. Though the film doesn’t have the gala showcase there that it enjoyed at home, they do appear to be showing the unedited version, which (one hopes) bodes well for further international distribution of the intact film. You can read NZ reviews at Le CulturevoreThe Dominion PostThe New Zealand Herald and TV.co.nzCanberra Times and Film Ink, meanwhile, documented the film’s successful distribution strategy at home.

Mystery Road

Ivan Sen’s neo-noir-Western continues to receive positive notices after festival screenings in Toronto, Austin and other cities over the past couple of weeks. There was also a special preview screening in Los Angeles on November 4.  You can lead the latest batch of reviews at Access ReelVisited PlanetSmells Like Screen Spirit, Unambitious UsView London Not Now I’m Drinking Beer And Watching A Movie (which also wins the award for Best Blog Name this week.) 😉

Director Ivan Sen and lead actor Aaron Pedersen continue to shoulder most of the promotional duties for the film. You can read their latest online interviews at The Momus Report, Katie Uhlmann Chats (video interviews), and Crosslights.

Scene-stealing costar Uncle Jack Charles was interviewed by ABC Radio. And there’s an article about the film’s sold out screening in Cairns in The Cairns Post.


Though Kim Farrant’s psychological thriller (costarring Nicole Kidman and Guy Pearce) doesn’t start filming until early next year, there continue to be preview pieces about the Broken Hill locations, courtesy ABC OnlineThe Age and The Herald Sun.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

There’s still no clear evidence that Hugo Weaving (or Cate Blanchett) will appear in the second installment of The Hobbit trilogy, but promotion is kicking into high gear, and Hugo hinted he might attend the film’s Wellington premiere (if Godot’s performance schedule allows) in recent interviews. (Actors not in the first film, including Orlando Bloom and Evangeline Lilly, were on hand for last year’s An Unexpected Journey premiere.) New TV promos continue to appear almost daily; you can see the full lot at Warner Bros YouTube channel. I missed the November 4 CNN Event simulcast due to being away in New York, but you can see highlights here, a special behind-the-scenes look here, and the whole shebang here (footage actually begins at 10.00 in.). Hugo Weaving does not seem to have participated, but Peter Jackson and several cast members, including Bloom, Lilly, Andy Serkis, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Richard Armitage and others were interviewed (Martin Freeman wasn’t on hand, but send a video greeting).

But Peter Jackson’s Production Videos remain the most entertaining vicarious experience of the films-in-progress. Here’s the latest, #12. No Hugo content, but very entertaining nonetheless.  IMO they should leave Gandalf’s cursing and Evangeline Lilly’s bird-flipping in the movie to liven things up. 😉

Those seeking new Elrond footage will probably be happier with the expanded edition of An Unexpected Journey, which hits stores today. Here’s an amusing GIF making the rounds on Tumblr:

Photo GIF: Cumberknit, via Tumblr


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