Psychoanalyst Margaret Ford, the author of a bestseller on compulsive behaviour, compromises her professional reputation when she offers to help one of her patients settle his gambling debts. Drawn into the seedy world of Chicago poker clubs and seduced by a charismatic hustler, Margaret starts out on what she thinks is an academic study but finds herself caught up in complex and dangerous con.
Playwright Richard Bean (One Man, Two Guvnors; Harvest) has taken the cult film written and directed by David Mamet, and created a taut, funny and sexy noir-thriller about obsession and the lengths we go to get what we desire. Mamet is one of America’s leading dramatists, as well as a screenwriter and director of stage and screen.
House of Games started life as a film, starring Joe Mantegna and Lindsay Crouse, winning the Best Film and Best Screenplay awards at the 1987 Venice Film Festival. New Theatre’s recent production of The Cherry Orchard also used Mamet’s adaptation.
Director Louise Fischer has a passion for the work of Richard Bean, writer of this stage version, having directed the Australian premieres of three of his earlier plays: The God Botherers (Darlinghurst Theatre Co), Honeymoon Suite and Harvest (both New Theatre). Bean is probably best known for One Man, Two Guvnors – his hugely successful adaptation of the commedia classic, The Servant of Two Masters.
“I was attracted to the play because it was dangerous and gave insight into a world that is deceptively enticing,” says Fischer. “Like Margaret, I was drawn to the world of the grifter. You know it’s wrong but you can’t help admiring the sheer genius of the con. I think audiences will enjoy the thrill of the chase…their chase in trying to stay ahead of the game.”
Director: Louise Fischer Featuring: Anne Brito, Ben Brock, Cheyne Fynn, Charles Jones, Mark Langham, Rebecca Levy, Colin McCarlie, Katherine Shearer, Benjamin Vickers, Cindy Wang Set Designer: John Cervenka Lighting Designer: Louise Mason Costume Designer: Deborah Mulhall Sound Designer: Amber Wilcox Assistant Director: Sahn Millington Cards/Poker Advisor: Wayne Van Keren Stage Manager: Douglas Cairns Assistant Stage Manager: Cindy Wang
House of Games
New Theatre, 542 King Street, Newtown
Season: 11 August – 10 September 2016 (previews: 9 & 10 August)
For more information, visit: www.newtheatre.org.au for details.
Image: House of Games – photo by Richard Hedger