After two successful years of operation at the intimate 63-seat Old Fitz Theatre, welcoming more than 32,000 people to 65 different shows, Red Line Productions have planned an even bigger season for 2017. Becoming known as a space which sees actors and creatives making brave and exciting choices and creating high-quality theatre, Red Line Productions has programmed ten main stage plays that will require more fearlessness and honesty from artists and audiences.
Artistic Director Andrew Henry has titled the 2017 season UNSPOKEN. “What is it that is too hard to say? What is it that we can’t say? What are the consequences? What are the pains and joys unleashed by our decision to speak truthfully or cautiously?” asks Henry. “Being honest, with yourself or others, is something often very hard to do when dealing with difficult situations, themes or questions but in next year’s season, honesty is the only real answer.”
2016 has brought record-breaking crowds to the Old Fitz Theatre and Henry is overwhelmed with the growing support that he is confident will continue into the Old Fitz Theatre’s 20th year. “I’m extremely proud of how far we’ve come in such a short time and I’m glad that audiences and our peers have been running alongside us the whole way. We’re constantly aiming to challenge ourselves and our audiences, and the support we’ve received has been the driving force. The Old Fitz has meant so much to many generations of theatre makers and we’re proud to be continuing the legacy, and to be celebrating its 20th anniversary. It is a privilege to stand on the shoulders of the giants who found, built and created ‘the Fitz’.”
With a commitment to creating new Australian work, 2017 introduces The New Fitz, a program that will welcome ten Australian writers and five resident directors to the company to create ten new forty-minute plays to be staged alongside the main stage season. Each of the writers has been sent a main stage script as the basis of putting pen to paper. This program is supported by Playwriting Australia, the Thyne Reid Foundation and program ambassador Louis Nowra, and will take the place of the Late Shows season throughout 2017. The New Fitz writers are Virginia Gay, Benedict Hardie, Clare Hennessy, Samantha Hill, Michael McStay, Charles O’Grady, Sam O’Sullivan, Katie Pollock, Brooke Robinson and Katy Warner. The five resident directors who have been selected to helm two productions each are Michael Abercrombie, Lucy Clements, Sean Hawkins, Madeline Humphries and Carissa Licciardello.
Kicking off the 2017 season will be the world premiere of Jeanette Cronin‘s I Hate You My Mother, in which two actors portray ten characters spanning four centuries while grappling with revenge and retribution. In February, Josh Quong Tart will make a star-turn as Oscar Wilde in David Hare’s emotionally charged The Judas Kiss, followed by Beth Henley‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning tragi-comedy Crimes of the Heart that tenderly examines the effects that an untimely death has on a trio of sisters. The lives of two American marines and an Iraqi translator are forever changed by an encounter with a quick-witted tiger who haunts the streets of war-torn Baghdad in the Sydney premiere of Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo by Rajiv Joseph. Doubt: A Parable by John Patrick Shanley is a powerful clash of authority, tradition, responsibility and faith when a teacher is suspected of sexually abusing a student. Provocative, hilarious and absolutely crucial, the Sydney premiere of Penelope Skinner’s The Village Bike is a darkly comic upending of presumptions about sexuality and pornography. An exciting inclusion in the 2017 season is a new play by Louis Nowra, This Much Is True, which continues the story of an older Lewis from Summer of the Aliens and Cosi, now living in an inner-city suburb filled with public housing, the underclass and characters who could only exist in such a place. Sarah Kane‘s final play before losing her battle with mental illness, 4:48 Psychosis, is written without characters or stage descriptions and is a uniquely dark and harrowing insight into parts of the mind very few of us experience but from which some can never escape. The Australian premiere of The Night Alive by Conor McPherson deftly mines the humanity to be found in the most unlikely of situations, and Arthur Miller‘s classic A View From the Bridge rounds out the season in a new production directed by Iain Sinclair.
Red Line Productions looks forward to another season of fiercely honest theatre and to celebrate the Old Fitz Theatre’s 20th year. Welcome to UNSPOKEN.
2017 RED LINE PRODUCTIONS AT THE OLD FITZ SEASON
I HATE YOU MY MOTHER
Presented by The Real Harpy and White Box Theatre in association with Red Line Productions
Written by Jeanette Cronin | Directed by Kim Hardwick
Cast includes Simen Glømmen Bostad and Jeanette Cronin
14 January – 11 February
When a sixteenth century Breton bishop lays his hands on his illegitimate daughter he unleashes a tide of revenge and retribution that can never be sated, a relentless domino effect, which rushes forward through history, infecting all who come after, tainting every heart and cutting innocence off at its knees. Peep through the keyhole as two actors gallop through four centuries, ten characters and a whole lot of dirty bath water. In a world where mummy knows best and daddy should know better, five couples fight with destiny and stoke the flames of lust, deprivation and all that is taboo.
Revenge is sweet, but never simple.
THE JUDAS KISS
Presented by Red Line Productions
Written by David Hare | Directed by Iain Sinclair
With Josh Quong Tart as Oscar Wilde
15 February – 11 March
“An emotionally rich drama illuminated by Hare’s customary insight and humanity” – The Globe and Mail
In the spring of 1895, Oscar Wilde was larger than life. His masterpiece The Importance of Being Ernest was a hit in the West End; he was the toast of London yet by summer he was serving two years in prison for gross indecency.
The scene is the Cadogan Hotel in 1895, where Wilde gathers his thoughts after losing a libel suit against the Marquess of Queensbury, the father of his lover Alfred Douglas, aka Bosie. The Marquess, enraged by the couple’s recklessly public and, in Victorian society’s view, amoral affair, openly insulted the writer and thus a lawsuit ensued. Now the defeated writer struggles with a burden of conscience – flee to France to escape persecution or stay and stand his ground, even when Bosie’s love is fickle and inconstant.
CRIMES OF THE HEART
Presented by Imperial Artistry in association with Red Line Productions
Written by Beth Henley | Directed by Janine Watson
Cast includes Caleb Alloway, Amanda McGregor, Laura Pike and Renae Small
15 March – 8 April
“From time to time a play comes along that restores one’s faith in our theatre…” – NY Magazine
Three sisters have gathered in their small Mississippi hometown awaiting news of their grandfather who is dying in a local hospital: Lenny, unmarried, Meg, a failed singer and Babe, on bail having shot her husband. Their troubles, which are grave yet somehow hilarious, are highlighted by their cousin Chick, Doc Porter and Babe’s lawyer who is trying to keep her out of jail while waging a personal vendetta against her husband. But the play ends on a joyful note with the three sisters re-united celebrating Lenny’s birthday.
BENGAL TIGER AT THE BAGHDAD ZOO
Presented by Mad March Hare in association with Red Line Productions
Written by Rajiv Joseph | Directed by Claudia Barrie
12 April – 6 May
“A majestic, richly conceived play with fanciful humor and clear-eyed compassion” – New York Times
The lives of two American marines and an Iraqi translator are forever changed by an encounter with a quick-witted tiger who haunts the streets of war-torn Baghdad attempting to find meaning, forgiveness and redemption amidst the city’s ruins. Rajiv Joseph’s groundbreaking play explores both the power and the perils of human nature and considers the enduring effect of violent acts and the impenetrable mysteries of the afterlife itself.
Winner of Outstanding New American Play (NEA Awards 2008), and a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize for Drama 2010 and Outstanding New Broadway Play at Outer Critics Circle Awards 2011.
DOUBT: A PARABLE
Presented by Apocalypse Theatre in association with Red Line Productions
Written by John Patrick Shanley | Directed by Dino Dimitriades
10 May – 3 June
“An eloquent and provocative investigation of truth and consequences. A gripping mystery, tightly written.” —Time Out NY
In this brilliant and powerful drama, Sister Aloysius, a Bronx school principal, takes matters into her own hands when she suspects the young Father Flynn of improper relations with one of the male students. Winner 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
THE VILLAGE BIKE
Presented by Red Line Productions
Written by Penelope Skinner | Directed by Rachel Chant
7 June – 8 July
“No playwright has put women themselves centre stage with such bravado as Penelope Skinner.” – The Evening Standard
Becky’s pregnant and frustrated. Her husband is more interested in the baby manual than her new underwear so she turns to the porn stash under the bed. As the summer heats up, a brief encounter sends her speeding downhill towards reckless abandon. Provocative, hilarious and absolutely crucial, Rachel Chant directs the Sydney premiere of The Village Bike, a darkly comic upending of presumptions about sexuality and pornography.
From the brilliant mind of playwright Penelope Skinner – described as Britain’s ‘leading young feminist writer’ (The Independent) – The Village Bike premiered at London’s Royal Court in 2011, where it had a sell-out, twice-extended run. It was the winner of the 2011 George Devine Award and won Skinner the Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright.
THIS MUCH IS TRUE
Presented by Red Line Productions
Written by Louis Nowra
12 July – 12 August
A debt collector, a drag queen, a rogue chemist and a manic-depressive walk into a pub…
This Much is True continues the story of Lewis from Summer of the Aliens and Cosi. Now he’s older, a writer and lives in an inner city suburb filled with public housing, the underclass and characters who could only exist in such a place. He attends the 150-year-old hotel, The Rising Sun, where he mixes with a core of customers, including an ice chemist, a once famous drag queen, a violent debt collector, a con man, a manic depressive and a fixer. These stories are true.
Presented by Workhorse Theatre Company in association with Red Line Productions
Written by Sarah Kane | Directed by Anthony Skuse
Cast includes Zoe Trilsbach
16 August – 9 September
Hailed as the young playwright of her generation, Sarah Kane lays her soul bare in this script as she disintegrates before you and sheds light on the darkness and struggle of mental illness. The Guardian said, “Sarah Kane wrote simply and starkly about the world she saw around her… a mature and vividly theatrical response to the pain of living”. In her final note to her agent regarding 4:48 Psychosis Sarah Kane wrote “do with it what you will, just remember – writing it killed me.”
Containing no characters, stage directions or specified setting 4:48 Psychosis is as unique as it is harrowing. Poetic, angry, full of love and frustration and darkly humorous this extraordinary work explores parts of the mind very few of us ever experience but from which some can never escape.
THE NIGHT ALIVE
Presented by O’Punksky’s Theatre in association with Red Line Productions
Written by Conor McPherson | Directed by Maelissa Stafford
Cast includes Laurence Coy, Patrick Dickson, John O’Hare and Maelissa Stafford
13 September – 14 October
Tommy’s not a bad man, he’s getting by. Renting a run-down room in his Uncle Maurice’s house, just about keeping his ex-wife and kids at arms length and rolling from one get-rich-quick scheme to another with his pal Doc. Then one day he comes to the aid of Aimee, who’s not had it easy herself, struggling through life the only way she knows how. Their past won’t let go easily. But together there’s a glimmer of hope they could make something more of their lives. Something extraordinary. Perhaps.
Conor McPherson’s new play deftly mines the humanity to be found in the most unlikely of situations.
A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE
Presented by Red Line Productions
Written by Arthur Miller | Directed by Iain Sinclair
19 October – 19 November
“Breathe, everybody, breathe! Audiences really need to be reminded of that at the end … Arthur Miller’s gut-wrenching 1956 domestic tragedy about a family of Italian immigrants living in Red Hook in the 1950s, a cruel era for immigrants.” – Variety
Eddie Carbone is a Brooklyn longshoreman obsessed with his 17-year-old niece Catherine. When Catherine falls in love with a newly arrived immigrant, Eddie’s jealousy erupts in a rage that consumes him, his family, and his world.
NEW FITZ SEASON
Written by Charles O’Grady | Directed by Sean Hawkins
28 February – 11 March
Written by Samantha Hill | Directed by Michael Abercrombie.
28 March – 8 April
Written by Michael McStay | Directed by Madeline Humphreys
25 April – 6 May
Written by Sam O’Sullivan | Directed by Lucy Clements
23 May – 3 June
Written by Clare Hennessy | Directed by Carissa Licciardello
27 June – 8 July
Written by Brooke Robinson | Directed by Sean Hawkins
1 – 12 August
Written by Benedict Hardie | Directed by Madeline Humphreys
29 August – 9 September
Written by Katie Pollock | Directed by Michael Abercrombie
3 – 14 October
Written by Katy Warner | Directed by Lucy Clements
7 – 18 November
Written by Virginia Gay | Directed by Carissa Licciardello
5 – 17 December