A haunting new drama that has taken off-Broadway by storm, John is the latest hit from Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Annie Baker – at Arts Centre Melbourne’s Fairfax Studio in an Australian premiere season from 16 February 2017.
A young couple, Jenny and Elias, arrive late one evening at Mertis Graven’s bed and breakfast in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania – historic site of a terrible Civil War battle. They are trying to get over some history of their own. Each is prickly and easily feels the other’s stings.
Perhaps in this comfortable home surrounded by dolls, knick-knacks and Mertis’ blind and eccentric friend Genevieve, they can find peace with each other. But the past can be a kind of haunting, where rooms are temperamental and you never know what the objects are thinking.
Over the past decade, Annie Baker has found poetry in extraordinary dialogue and ultra-ordinary situations. In John she splashes a liberal measure of Gothic eeriness into the pot. Audiences will be captivated by this intriguing play.
Directed by MTC’s new Associate Director Sarah Goodes, the incomparable Helen Morse (The Aunt’s Story) returns to the stage alongside Ursula Mills (Kryptonite), making her MTC debut, also starring Johnny Carr (What Rhymes with Cars and Girls) and Melita Jurisic (Mad Max: Fury Road).
“Annie Baker’s John explores and celebrates the unique quality of immediacy and intimacy of theatre,” says Director, Sarah Goodes. “It activates the extraordinary inside the everyday and burrows towards the human need for connection and empathy. The opportunity to see this astonishing new piece of writing brought to life by some of the country’s most experienced and talented actors, is a remarkable opportunity not to be missed.”
Annie Baker is a multi award-winning American playwright whose plays have been produced at over 150 theatres throughout the US and have been produced internationally in over a dozen countries. Her plays include Circle Mirror Transformation (Obie Award for Best New American Play, Drama Desk nomination for Best New American Play) which had its Australian premiere at MTC in 2011.
Other plays include The Flick (Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, Obie Award for Playwriting); The Aliens (Obie Award for Best New American Play); and Body Awareness (Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations for Best Play/Emerging Playwright).
Director Sarah Goodes has garnered a reputation as a leading director of new Australian and international work, attracting critical acclaim and multiple award nominations for her productions including: Disgraced, The Hanging, Switzerland, Battle of Waterloo, The Effect and Orlando (all for Sydney Theatre Company). Formerly resident director at STC, she has also directed Vere (Faith), The Splinter and Edward Gant’s Amazing Feats of Loneliness for the company.
Goodes’ other directing credits include Black Milk, The Sweetest Thing and The Small Things (Belvoir); The Colour of Panic (Sydney Opera House and its Norwegian tour); Vertigo and the Virginia and The Schelling Point, Hilt and What Happened Was (Old Fitzroy Theatre); and The Unscrupulous Murderer Hasse Karlson Reveals the Gruesome Truth About the Woman Who Froze to Death on a Railway Bridge (Darlinghurst Theatre Company).
“So good on so many levels that it casts a unique and brilliant light.” – The New Yorker
Director: Sarah Goodes Featuring: Johnny Carr, Melita Jurisic, Ursula Mills, Helen Morse Set & Costume Designer: Elizabeth Gadsby Composer & Sound Designer: Russell Goldsmith Lighting Designer: Richard Vabre Voice & Dialect Coach: Geraldine Cook-Dafner
Fairfax Studio – Arts Centre melbourne, 100 St. Kilda Road, Melbourne
Season: 16 February – 25 March 2017 (previews: 10 – 15 February)
For more information, visit: www.mtc.com.au for details.
Image: Helen Morse and Ursula Mills feature in John – photo by Justin Ridler