February 9, 2006
Cate Blanchett wouldn’t be human if she wasn’t slightly nervous about travelling to New York with the Sydney Theatre Company production of Hedda Gabler.
The STC cast and crew will head to the Big Apple on Tuesday and spend two weeks in rehearsals before beginning a four-week season on March 1, playing seven shows a week.
"If you arrive on stage and the rehearsal process hasn’t been thorough and deep and rich, and you are not working with people of this calibre, then yes I would be nervous," said the Oscar-winning Australian actor today.
"But I think I am more excited. I think it is good, a little bit of fear keeps one on one’s toes."
Hedda Gabler played a sellout nine-week season for the STC in Sydney last year.
All the original cast members – Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Justine Clark, Aden Young, Anthony Weigh, Julie Hamilton and Annie Byron – will reprise their roles for the New York production.
"There are different sorts of nerves," said Weaving.
The STC was invited by Joseph Melillo, executive producer at the prestigious Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM).
Directed by Robyn Nevin, the production was adapted from Henrik Ibsen’s original for the STC by Blanchett’s husband Andrew Upton.
"I am really intrigued and hopeful," said Upton.
"I think they (Americans) will definitely relate to it differently because they have got a different attitude to Ibsen, they probably see more of it so it will be interesting to see."
In the play, Hedda Gabler (Blanchett) returns from her honeymoon with Jorgen Tesman (Weigh), contemplating life in a house she never wanted.
Feeling cornered, Gabler orchestrates the fates of those close to her – confidante Judge Brack (Weaving), ex-classmate Thea Elvsted (Clarke) and soulmate Eilert Lovborg (Young).
However, her interference rebounds on her with shattering results.
Hedda Gabler is the second STC production to travel to New York after the company performed The White Devil for Melillo in 2001.
Meanwhile, Justine Clarke, Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving have films opening in the United States while they’re there.
Blanchett and Weaving’s Little Fish will screen at BAM and Clarke’s Look Both Ways will open at small cinemas in New York and Los Angeles.
"I am really thrilled," said Clarke, who will be taking her husband and two children to New York.
The actors and crew will be based in Manhattan and are looking forward to checking out the sites.
But Blanchett made it clear where her focus would be.
"It is not a holiday," she said.