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Opening Night

  • Theatre, Drama
  • Belvoir St Theatre, Surry Hills
Leeanna Walsman in a brilliant blue jacket looking at us reflected in a dressing room mirror framed by lightbulbs
Photograph: Belvoir/Daniel Boud

Time Out says

A cult '70s movie inspires this daring Belvoir show about a leading lady losing her mind

Film lovers will be psyched to see new life breathed into one of the greats of ‘70s cinema in Carissa Licciardello’s fresh take on this John Cassavetes drama. 

The 1977 movie about an ageing actress self-combusting in the out-of-town tryouts for a new Broadway show has developed a devoted cult following since its premiere. In 2008, it was adapted for the stage by auteur director Ivo van Hove, and proved a significant source of inspiration for The Second Woman, one of the most celebrated pieces of performance to come out of Australia in the last decade.

Licciardello’s reimagining casts Seven Types of Ambiguity star Leeanna Walsman as Myrtle, the role made famous by Geena Rowlands. Myrtle is due to star in a new play but is finding it near impossible to get into character as her mind is somewhere else entirely, dealing with her own changing currency. By the time we reach the play’s opening night, Myrtle has gone to a truly dark place.

Teste’s version, which is performed in French with English surtitles, uses live video, some moments of improvisation, and even the use of fragrances (designed by perfumer Francis Kurkdjian, the nose behind some of the world’s best-selling perfumes) used strategically in the auditorium to create a multi-sensory storytelling experience.

“Carissa had a way in and she knew exactly why it needed to be done,” Belvoir’s artistic director Eamon Flack says of the new adaptation. “For anyone who saw her production of A Room of One’s Own, it’s clear that she has a real talent and the fantastically clear thinking in her work means that she’s the perfect director for this. Leeanna has been busy in the screen world, but she loves and gets Belvoir.”

What's next? Find out what else is in store for Belvoir's 2022 season

Written by
Time Out editors


Belvoir St Theatre
25 Belvoir St
Surry Hills

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