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Opening Night

Theatre, Drama
Opening Night Sydney Festival 2020 supplied
Photograph: Simon Gosselin

Time Out says

Isabelle Adjani stars in this Sydney Festival highlight based on a cult film

The Sydney Festival season of Opening Night has been cancelled owing to bushfire-related health concerns.

John Cassavetes’ 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.

Now a new stage version, by auteur director Cyril Teste, is one of the headlining events at Sydney Festival. French acting great Isabelle Adjani takes on the leading role, Myrtle Gordon, who is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. 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.

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