A witty, serpentine thriller from one of our greatest and most popular playwrights, State Theatre Company South Australia presents Joanna Murray-Smith’s Switzerland for a limited season in the Dunstan Playhouse – Adelaide Festival Centre from 24 October 2017.
Directed by former State Theatre Company Resident Director Nescha Jelk, Switzerland features stage and screen legend Sandy Gore (Footfalls) who returns to the Company to play one of the literary world’s most divisive and compelling figures – the late Patricia Highsmith, the brilliant mind behind The Talented Mr Ripley and Strangers on a Train.
Highsmith lives a reclusive life in the Swiss Alps surrounded by her collection of books and antique weapons. The unlikeable genius facing the end of her life has withdrawn completely from the world, finding solace in her seclusion, her cats and cigarettes. Until one day a young man, Edward Ridgeway, intrudes into her place of refuge, another irritating delegate from her publisher demanding a contract for one final instalment.
“One of the most exciting and terrifying aspects of the playwright’s life is seeing her words reincarnated with new collaborations,” says playwright Joanna Murray-Smith. “I’m thrilled to be back at the State Theatre Company, one of my favourite companies, with Switzerland. The play is a fictional account of the very un-fictional Patricia Highsmith, the vicious, volatile and utterly brilliant creator of The Talented Mr Ripley and other iconic works of the twentieth century.”
Patricia Highsmith created some of the greatest suspense novels in modern literature, writing dozens of works that would become notorious for their startling violence and unstable, morally ambiguous characters. She became best known for the Ripley series and its eponymous criminal hero; a seductive, amoral libertine who gets away with murder. Highsmith was born in Texas in 1921, and died alone in Switzerland in 1995.
Joanna Murray-Smith is one of Australia’s most nationally and internationally acclaimed playwrights. Her work has been nominated for many awards including the Olivier Award for Best Comedy for The Female of the Species. Her other plays include Three Little Words; Pennsylvania Avenue; Fury; True Minds; Day One, A Hotel, Evening; The Gift; Rockabye; Ninety; Bombshells; Honour; Redemption; Love Child; American Song; and the smash-hit, Songs for Nobodies.
In 2016, Murray-Smith was the inaugural winner of the Mona Brand writing award. She has previously been awarded two Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards for Drama, the Braille Book of the Year Award, Edinburgh Fringe First Award and the London Theatregoers Choice Award. She was also a finalist for the 2006 Miles Franklin Award and was nominated for the 2004 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
Director: Nescha Jelk Featuring: Sandy Gore, Matt Crook Composer: Jason Sweeney Designer: Ailsa Paterson Lighting Designer: Nigel Levings
Dunstan Playhouse – Adelaide Festival Centre, King William Road, Adelaide
Season: 24 October – 5 November 2017
Information and Bookings: www.statetheatrecompany.com.au
Image: Sandy Gore stars in Switzerland (supplied)