Spotlight on: "The Present"

Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh succumb to the intoxicating power of lust and obsession in in a new adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s first play.

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ABOUT THE SHOW

Andrew Upton’s Chekhov adaptation is set in post-Perestroika Russia in the mid-1990s at an old country house where friends gather to celebrate the birthday of the independent but compromised widow Anna Petrovna (Cate Blanchett). At the center is the acerbic and witty Platonov (Richard Roxburgh) with his wife, his former students and friends, and their partners. They may appear comfortable, but boiling away inside is a mess of unfinished, unresolved relationships, fueled by 20 years of denial, regret and thwarted desire.

TRIVIA

  • Another version of Chekhov’s play, Wild Honey adapted by Michael Frayn, was first performed at London’s National Theatre in 1984, winning three Olivier Awards. It opened on Broadway two years later.
  • Cate Blanchett and her husband, Andrew Upton—author of this adaptation—were co-artistic directors of Sydney Theatre Company from 2008 to 2013. The Present debuted there starring Blanchett in 2015.

HISTORY

The Present is based on an early, untitled play by Anton Chekhov that remained unpublished until 1923, nearly two decades after the playwright’s death. This version was adapted by Andrew Upton for Australia’s Sydney Theatre Company, where it premiered in 2015 before transferring to Broadway.