Hannie Rayson’s award winning play, Hotel Sorrento, which inspired the film of the same name, tells the story of three sisters who grew up together in the seaside town Sorrento, has embarked on a national tour across Australia.
Hilary lives in the family home in Sorrento with her father and 16 year-old son. Pippa, a business woman, is visiting from New York and Meg, a successful writer, returns from England. When the three sisters are reunited after 10 years apart they again feel the constraints of family life.
A semi autobiographical book written by middle sister and expat Meg triggers the familial tensions and dramas that eventuate. The play is about family in a literal and metaphorical sense and the importance of blood ties and collective memory, true or false.
Directed by Denny Lawrence (Shirley Valentine, Glorious!), this comedy/drama features Ruth Caro as Hilary (Home & Away, The Glass Menagerie), Kim Denman as Meg (All My Love, West Side Story), Joanne Booth as Pippa (Neighbours, House Husbands), Dennis Coard as Wal (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Let The Sunshine In), Jenny Seedsman as Marge (Inheritance, Patient 12), Sean Rees-Wemyss as Troy (Nowhere Boys, Utopia), and Dion Mills as Edwin (All My Love, Eurydice).
“Holding a mirror up to the society in which it was written, it has universal themes and feels even more relevant (than when it premiered in 1990) to a world living in fear, keenly aware of difference and to a nation constantly questioning the nature of being Australian and interrogating our ties to the Mother Country and our alliance with the US,” says Lawrence.
“Hannie Rayson perceptively examines these issues through the three sisters (as in Chekhov) who represent distinctly different facets of ‘The Australian’, especially ‘The Australian Woman’. This is a moving, insightful and often very funny piece of entertaining first-rate theatre.”
Hotel Sorrento was first performed in 1990 by the Playbox Theatre Company at the Malthouse Theatre winning an AWGIE, NSW Premier’s Literary Award and a Green Room Award. Since then the play has had over 50 productions throughout Australia and overseas (winning critical acclaim on its London debut), and has been translated into French, Japanese and Swedish.
This will represent the 20th anniversary of HIT’s first production of the play. HIT has a great deal of affection for Hotel Sorrento being that it was a production of this play in 1998, directed by David Latham, that launched HIT’s touring arm in 1999.
Hannie Rayson is an award winning playwright whose plays have been performed throughout Australia and overseas. Her plays include: Mary, Room to Move, Hotel Sorrento, Falling From Grace, Scenes from a Separation (co-written with Andrew Bovell), Competitive Tenderness, Life After George, Inheritance Two Brothers, The Glass Soldier, The Swimming Club and Extinction.
Rayson has been awarded two Australian Writers’ Guild Awards, four Helpmann Awards, two NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and a Victorian Premier’s Literary Award as well as the Age Performing Arts Award and The Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award. She made playwriting history when Life After George was the first play to be nominated for the Miles Franklin Award.
Hotel Sorrento will be presented throughout May at the following locations: Kyneton Town Hall (23 May); Burrinja, Upwey (25 May); Memorial Hall, Healesville (26 May); Bunjil Place, Narre Warren (29 May); and Gasworks Arts Park, Albert Park (31 May – 2 June). Visit the Hit Productions Facebook Page for more information and additional dates from June 2018.
Image: courtesy of Hit Productions