Cate Blanchett and the Cast of The Present Spill Their Party Secrets | Playbill

Special Features Cate Blanchett and the Cast of The Present Spill Their Party Secrets On the Broadway stage, they play a group of friends celebrating the birthday of widow Anna Petrovna. Here the cast recalls their best and worst party memories.
Cate Blanchett and the cast of The Present Sydney Theatre Company

In Andrew Upton’s new adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s first play, Platonov, a group of friends gathers at an old country house to celebrate the birthday of the independent but compromised widow Anna Petrovna, played by Oscar winner Cate Blanchett. Following an acclaimed run at Sydney Theatre Company, the production begins performances on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre December 17—in celebration of the American debut, the Australian cast shares their best and worst party memories with Playbill.

Cate Blanchett, Andrew Upron, and Richard Roxburgh Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Cate Blanchett (Anna): I was 14 when I went to my first proper, big party. It was deep out in the suburbs [of Melbourne, Australia] and I wore a bright yellow ’80s number I had designed, and my mother had made my outfit. It had some crazy colors. There were so many girls there and this poor boy—only boy showed up. The boys probably saw my outfit and ran in the other direction.

Jacqueline McKenzie (Sophia): I was traveling with the cast of a movie called Eisenstein on a train from Kiev to Odessa in Ukraine. We’d been to an open-air market that day and bought a tin of caviar for ten dollars and all this cheese. We drank a lot of bad vodka and were riding in between the carriages—and it was snowing! It was pretty memorable.

Richard Roxburgh (Mikhail): When I was a student in Canberra, there was a party at the local bar, after which I woke up—it was freezing cold and I hadn’t been able to make my way back to my accommodation—between two sewage pipes that ran alongside the bridge that crossed the creek. They were obviously warm and I’d gone out like a heat-seeking fool and found comfort.

Brandon McClelland (Dimitri): I met my girlfriend at the last party I went to, so that was pretty special. She had just flown over to Sydney to see another guy who broke up with her as soon as she got off the plane. She ended up at the same party as me and we hit it off.

Andrew Buchanan (Osip): I had to go to a party where the theme was the letter P so I went as a giant poo but people thought I was a potato. I’d say: “No, I’m a poo.” They couldn’t deal with it. They would just stare at me and walk away.

David Downer (Yegor): My most recent birthday party we went to a charming Italian restaurant in Sydney. My son gave my wife and I a night in a hotel overlooking Sydney Harbor Bridge and the Opera House. It was very romantic, and a magical night.

Eamon Farren (Kirrill): I grew up on Australia’s Gold Coast so we had really great beach parties. We’d enjoy ourselves all night by the water with music. They’re the best parties I’ve ever been to.

Martin Jacobs (Alexei): I grew up in New Zealand and it’s very similar [to Eamon]—a lot of beach parties.

Susan Prior (Sasha): The first thing that comes to mind is being terribly sick in front of the boy that I really, really liked from school. But he helped me home and we may have even kissed after.

Susan Prior, Richard Roxburgh, Cate Blanchett, Jacqueline McKenzie, and Anna Bamford Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Chris Ryan (Sergei): I used to have a girlfriend who was Serbian and I went to Serbia to meet all her family—who didn’t speak a word of English. We were out in the countryside and they plied me with the local alcohol called Rakia—it’s yellow and kept in soda bottles. I thought I’d try to match her cousins [drinking] and the universe started spinning. Her cousin dragged me out onto the lawn and made a bed for me by the fire.

Anna Bamford (Maria): I remember rolling around on the floor at my first drama school party and telling people I didn’t care what they saw. I was shouting it out. I never lived that down.

Toby Schmitz (Nikolai): I kissed a very attractive designer while I was at drama school but I had a mouthful of beer and accidentally sprayed it all over her.

Marshall Napier (Ivan): The best and the worst parties I’ve been to in my life—I can’t remember them the next day.

Scroll through photos of the cast meeting the press below:

Meet the Cast of The Present Starring Cate Blanchett

For tickets and more information visit


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