Chekhov's First Play Gets 1990s Makeover Starring Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh | Playbill

News Chekhov's First Play Gets 1990s Makeover Starring Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh The Present, a new adaptation of Anton Chekhov's unfinished first play, begins Aug. 4 at the Sydney Theatre Company. Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh star in the world-premiere stage adaptation by Andrew Upton that has been reset in the mid-1990s.

Cate Blanchett
Cate Blanchett

Blanchett and Roxburgh, who co-starred in the STC production of Uncle Vanya, return for The Present, which has also been known as Platonov, Wild Honey, Fatherlessness and The Disinherited. The production will run through Sept. 19. John Crowley (The Pillowman) directs.

Also featured in the cast are Anna Bamford, Eamon Farren, Jacqueline McKenzie, Marshall Napier, Susan Prior, Chris Ryan and Toby Schmitz.

Chekhov's original version, which was set during the end of the 19th century and the conception of communism, has been relocated to the end of the 20th century. According to STC, "Perestroika has been effective, the Soviet state has been dismantled and the first wave of oligarchs has emerged."

"At an old country summerhouse, friends are gathered to celebrate the 40th birthday of the independent but compromised widow Anna Petrovna (Blanchett). At the centre is the acerbic, witty, unexploded bomb that is Platonov (Roxburgh) with his wife Sasha (Prior), his former students and friends Sergei (Ryan) and Nikolai (Schmitz) and their partners Sophia (McKenzie) and Maria (Bamford). They may appear comfortable, but boiling away inside is a mess of unfinished, unresolved relationships, fueled by twenty years of denial, regret and thwarted desire," STC states.

The creative team includes production designer Alice Babidge, lighting designer Nick Schlieper and composer/sound designer Stefan Gregory.


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