Director John Crowley finds the humor with Cate Blanchett in The Present.
Cate Blanchett and the cast of The Present (Sydney Theatre Company)
Anyone who suggested to Irish director John Crowley that he would one day be directing Anton Chekhov would have been dubbed a liar. “I wouldn’t have said five years ago that I’d have interest in directing any Chekhov, really,” he says.
Then Andrew Upton, at the time the artistic director of Australia’s Sydney Theatre Company, emailed Crowley with a proposal: He was writing an adaptation of Chekhov’s first play Platonov, but set in the 1990s. And there would be punk music involved. Would Crowley direct?
“Andrew’s approach felt like a really interesting way to shine a different light on certain aspects that are in the original play,” says Crowley, “and to see what happens if one generation, which should step up and inherit the mantle of power, doesn’t.”