Glenbrook Players are excited to finally welcome their audiences back to live performances at the Glenbrook Theatre after the extended period of lock-down. The first offering for 2021 will be the Australian premiere of Austin Pendleton's comic drama, Orson's Shadow, directed by Joshua Stojanovic.
The play captures three roller-coaster days in the uneasy real-life alliance between Orson Wells (Christopher Bancroft) and Laurence Olivier (John Bailey) as they join artistic forces to produce Ionesco's The Rhinoceros at The Royal Court Theatre in 1960. What was the wisdom behind these two titans of the theatrical and film worlds coming together? Even they begin to wonder as their plans dramatically derail.
Wells and Olivier are joined at The Royal Court by actress Joan Plowright (Marianne Gibney-Quinteros), theatre critic Kenneth Tynan (Matthew Doherty) and Olivier's then wife, Vivien Leigh (Cassandra Strasiotto). Each has a pressing agenda.
Olivier hopes to continue his deepening liaison with Plowright (without getting sprung) at the same time as turning his hand to Ionesco's new modernist play and preparing to take the reins at the National Theatre. Plowright's sights are set on a personal and working alliance with Olivier on a permanent basis, and Tynan wants a place beside Olivier at the National Theatre ringing in a vibrant new era of British Theatre. Out with the old and in with the new.
A fragile but elegant Vivien Leigh drops in on this highly-strung, ego-filled stage, when she makes an unexpected entrance on her way to catch a flight to New York. Her agenda is more ambiguous as she heads towards an emotionally volatile crisis. Is it Larry she needs and desires? Would she be better off if he let her go?
All Orson wants is to get everyone back to work and himself back into the theatrical and cinematic spotlight with this play.
Luckily, Orson has Shaun (Angela Pezzano), who has been thrust into his chaotic world to become a devoted gofer and form of light relief between rehearsals.
At the Glenbrook Theatre on May 14 May, with performances over two weekends (14-16, 21-22 May). Book at www.glenbrookplayers.com.au or 4739 0003.