Down-on-his-luck Archie Lee is obsessed with his young bride, Baby Doll, but Baby is keeping her husband on a long leash. When the neighbouring cotton gin is burnt to the ground, dangerously charismatic Silva Vacarro pays them a visit, suspicious that Archie is to blame.
In the steamy hours that follow, power and passion come irresistibly to the fore as a game of truth or dare plays out. Peppered with wry humour and sultry comedy, this brand new adaptation breathes fresh life into a beautifully crafted tale by one of the greatest playwrights of the 20th century.
“When I saw the film of Baby Doll a few years back, I wanted to do it as a stage play not realising the film was not based on a stage play called Baby Doll but an earlier play,” said Mark Kilmurry, Artistic Director Ensemble Theatre. “There was no play of Baby Doll to perform.”
“A few years later two cropped up around the same time and I was thrilled with Pierre Laville and Emily Mann’s adaptation. It captures the essence of the film, the damage of the characters and Tennessee Williams’ beautiful dialogue. I am very excited we are presenting Baby Doll almost as a new unperformed play by Tennessee Williams in 2019.”
Recipient of the 2017 Sandra Bates Directors Award, Baby Doll will be directed by Shaun Rennie (The Rise and Fall of Little Voice – Darlinghurst Theatre Company, Sweet Charity – WAAPA) and features a stellar cast including Kate Cheel (Dead Cat Bounce – Griffin Theatre), Maggie Dence ( – Ensemble Theatre), Socratis Otto (The Iliad: Out Loud – Belvoir / Sydney Festival) and Jamie Oxenbould (The Miser – Bell Shakespeare).
“I am thrilled to set Ensemble Theatre alight with this searing and taut adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ controversial film and masterpiece,” says Rennie. “I can’t wait to explore the poetry, beauty and heat of Williams’ language with a cast of some of Australia’s finest actors.”
Tennessee Williams was a master playwright of the twentieth century. His plays A Streetcar Named Desire, The Glass Menagerie, and Cat On A Hot Tin Roof are considered among the finest of the American stage. At their best, his twenty-five full-length plays combined lyrical intensity, haunting loneliness, and hypnotic violence. Williams is widely considered the greatest Southern playwright and one of the greatest playwrights in the history of American drama.
Director: Shaun Rennie Featuring: Kate Cheel, Maggie Dence, Socratis Otto, Jamie Oxenbould Assistant Director: Erin Taylor Set & Costume Designer: Anna Tregloan Lighting Designer: Verity Hampson Composer & Sound Designer: Nate Edmondson Production Manager: Romy Mckanna Stage Manager: Stephanie Lindwall Costume Supervisor: Renata Beslik Dialect Coach: Linda Nicholls-Gidney Fight Director: Nigel Poulton
Ensemble Theatre, 78 McDougall Street, Kirribilli
Season: 23 October – 16 November 2019 (previews: 18 – 22 October)
Information and Bookings: www.ensemble.com.au
Image: Kate Cheel stars in Baby Doll – courtesy of Ensemble Theatre