September 7, 2012
Hugo Weaving and Richard Roxburgh, at Sydney’s Wharf Theatre, will appear in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot for the Sydney Theatre Company next year.
Picture: Dan Himbrechts Source: The Australian
A COUPLE of lovable theatre rogues are getting their act together to appear in one of the emblematic pieces of 20th-century drama.
Hugo Weaving and Richard Roxburgh will play tramps Vladimir and Estragon in a new production of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot for the Sydney Theatre Company next year.
“We’ll have to rehearse it a bit first,” said Weaving.
Roxburgh added: “Hopefully we won’t disgrace ourselves and disappoint everyone.”
Giving each other bro hugs at STC’s Wharf Theatre this week, Weaving and Roxburgh turned the heads of theatregoers who were gathering for a matinee.
Roxburgh — whose dissolute Sydney barrister Cleaver Greene returned to ABC1’s Rake last night — exchanged a friendly wave with an elegantly dressed woman in sunglasses. “Was that Carla Zampatti?” he asked.
Yesterday Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton unveiled their final season as STC co-artistic directors. Upton will stay for another three years and Blanchett’s duties will taper off next year.
Season 2013 could be billed as the year of the double act: Blanchett and France’s Isabelle Huppert in Genet’s The Maids; Tim Minchin and Toby Schmitz in Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead; a theatremaking duo known as Sisters Grimm; a production of Romeo and Juliet; and, of course, Weaving and Roxburgh in Godot.
There are also two stage adaptations of much-loved Australian novels: Colin Thiele’s Storm Boy, adapted by Tom Holloway, and Kate Grenville’s The Secret River, adapted by Andrew Bovell.
The idea for Waiting for Godot was suggested by Hungarian director Tamas Ascher during rehearsals for 2010’s Uncle Vanya: that cast included Blanchett, John Bell and Jacki Weaver, as well as Weaving and Roxburgh. The two actors previously had not appeared on stage together.
“Hugo is the reason why I became an actor,” Roxburgh said.
“When I was at university in Canberra, labouring under the rigours of an economics degree, Hugo’s third-year touring production of Twelfth Night from NIDA came to Canberra. I saw him on stage as Sir Toby Belch.”
He turned to Weaving: “You loved your Belch.”
Beckett’s 1953 “tragi-comedy” is famously known as the play in which nothing happens twice. “It’s got to be the great 20th-century text, really,” said Weaving. “It’s like ‘To be or not to be’, as told by a couple of tramps who can’t remember their lines.”
Blanchett said of Weaving and Roxburgh: “You’re used to grizzly old men playing it. But they are parts for consummate actors, which these two certainly are.”