By my count, the 2019 Season will be the 40th produced by the Sydney Theatre Company.
The coming season is a bit of a grab bag with something old, something new and something borrowed. It opens with Mary Stuart adapted by Kate Mulvany from the original by Friedrich Schiller (1800). It’s hardly the first adaption: in 1835 Donizetti wrote the opera Maria Stuarda based on an Italian translation of Schiller.
There have been lots of movies based on Schiller notably in 1971 with Vanessa Redgrave as Mary and Glenda Jackson as Elizabeth and, this year, a yet to be released film with Australian Margot Robbie as Elizabeth, a role which many associate with Cate Blanchett. The attraction of Schiller’s play for so many versions is that it provides a centrally dramatic scene of a fiery meeting between Mary and Elizabeth. But such a meeting never happened. So goodness knows what is the appeal of this story to an Australian writer for updating.
Well, it does save her the trouble of making up a plot. Perhaps it’s about women’s empowerment; that is, the power to order the decapitation of a rival.
We shall see.
The rival queens are Caroline Brazier and Helen Thomson. Next off is How to Rule the World by Gamilaroi/Torres Strait Islander woman Nakkiah Lui who had a big success this year at STC with the comedy Black is the New White and a second play Blackie Blackie Brown. Such success might cheer her up soon.
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