A dark tale of juicy revenge and teenage obsession, based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Award-winning Australian playwright Joanna Erskine’s Rosaline will premiere at the Kings Cross Theatre from 16 October 2019.
An echo of Shakespeare’s great tragedy, this contemporary play is composed of a series of fictional ‘missing’ scenes, exposing the role that Rosaline, Romeo’s first love, may have had in the story we know so well.
In development since 2007, this new work explores the story that has defined our popular romantic consciousness about love. Erskine has thrust Shakespeare’s greatest love story into a bold new light, allowing us to view it and the characters we are so familiar with from the perspective of the young woman scorned.
Rosaline is a powerful four-hander, where classically high stakes clash with modern teenage lust. Set in a small town where chastity is highly prized, religion is tainted and surveillance is rife, three teenagers are burgeoning on adulthood. It is a dangerous world, lacking in adult figures, except one – the local Friar. The audience follow Rosaline and her manipulation of three men, and their manipulation of her, towards her ultimate goal – love or vengeance.
“Too often women’s narratives are controlled by men,” says Erskine. “This is a story about a young woman taking back control of her own narrative. About giving a voiceless woman a voice. Rosaline is the centre of Romeo’s world in Shakespeare’s original, then is instantly forgotten. I have always refused to believe that she simply disappeared.”
Directed by award-winning director, actor and teaching artist Sophie Kelly, Rosaline features a powerhouse cast of performers including Aanisa Vylet (SAUVAGE, The Girl/The Woman, Postcards From The Wire) in the titular role, Alex Beauman (All My Sleep and Waking, You Got Older, The Whale) as Romeo, Jeremi Campese (Yen, DNA, Bell Shakespeare Players) as Peter and David Lynch (A View From the Bridge, Trevor, AIR) as Friar.
Joanna Erskine is a graduate of NIDA, winner of the Sydney Theatre Company Young Playwrights Award, two-time winner of the Silver Gull Play Award (2016 & 2019) and was shortlisted for the 2012 Philip Parsons Award (Belvoir) for K.I.J.E. (TRS, Old Fitzroy Theatre). In 2016 she was selected for Ensemble Theatre’s Stages reading for People Will Think You Don’t Love Me, which then won the Silver Gull Play Award.
In 2018 her play AIR debuted at the Old 505 Theatre. Joanna is the Festival Director of Storytellers Festival at KXT (2018 & 2019) a two-week celebration and showcase of unproduced Australian writing. Joanna writes extensively for young audiences, including for Bell Shakespeare, Camp Quality and Poetry In Action, and her popular monologue for teenage actors, BOOT.
Director: Sophie Kelly Featuring: Alex Beauman, Jeremi Campese, David Lynch, Aanisa Vylet Set and Costume Design: Lucy McCullough Lighting Design: Martin Kinnane Associate Lighting Designer: Jasmin Borsovszky Sound Design: Tegan Nicholls Video Design: Laura Turner Stage Manager: Ruth Hollows Production Assistant: Adam Stepfner Producer: Little Trojan
Kings Cross Theatre – Kings Cross Hotel, 244 William Street, Kings Cross
Season: 16 – 26 October 2019
Information and Bookings: www.kingsxtheatre.com
Image: Aanisa Vylet features in Rosaline – photo by Marnya Rothe