Black Swan’s 2018 season a fascinating mix of classic and contemporary

NEW Black Swan Theatre artistic director Clare Watson has literally hit the ground running for the company’s 2018 season.

In a busy year she will direct three works including a much-anticipated new play based on well- known Australian television personality Adriana Xenides.

Next year’s season is a fascinating mix of classic and contemporary works to be staged in the Heath Ledger Theatre and Studio Underground.

Many of the plays will be interspersed with pop-up activities, discussions, podcasts and film screenings to increase audience enjoyment.

Clare Watson said the company curated the 2018 season by asking the question: “What should we be talking about right now, as citizens of the world, as Western Australians, as humans?

“We wanted the theatre you see at Black Swan to catalyse and contribute to the big conversations,” she says.

The 2018 season aims to encourage compassion, extend empathy and, most importantly, to entertain.

There will be three mainstage shows in the Health Ledger Theatre with a record five shows in the Studio Underground.

Next year’s season kicks off on 1 March with Clare Watson directing You Know We Belong Together by Julia Hales and collaborators.

Hales offers a deeply personal account of her own experiences of love as a daughter, actor, dreamer and person with Down syndrome.

From 5 May-20 May, much-loved Australian classic Ray Lawler’s Summer of the Seventeenth Doll directed by Adam Mitchell is a new WA production.

Set in 1950s Melbourne, The Doll revolves around the events of the seventeenth summer where two mates on yet another “layoff” season, come back to “live it up” in the city with their girlfriends. But this summer things start to change.

The thought-provoking HIR (a gender-neutral pronoun of his and her and pronounced here) by Taylor Mac and directed by Zoe Pepper is an audacious dive into the dysfunctional family playpen of American theatre.

Isaac returns home after serving a three-year stint in Afghanistan to find his family household in revolt. It runs from 10 May to 27 May.

Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins directed by Roger Hodgman from 16 June to 1 July builds on Black Swan’s success in presenting contemporary musical works.

The work personifies Sondheim’s signature blend of stunning lyrics and beautiful music, embracing a range of American musical traditions from the 1860s to the 1980s.

The Events (the sleeper hit of the 2013 Edinburgh Festival) by David Greig and directed by Clare Watson comes to Perth from 21 June to 8 July after successful seasons in the eastern states.

One of Australia’s top actors, Catherine McClements (Water Rats, Rush), plays Claire, a vicar and leader of the community choir until a catastrophic event shatters everyone.

Based on a true story, Skylab by Melodie Reynolds-Diarra and directed by Kyle J Morrison runs from 16 August to 2 September.

In July 1979 NASA’s Skylab is hurtling towards Earth, about to crash land near Esperance. Nev, Jem and the kids have no idea their world is about to change.

From 20 October to 4 November, Sarah Ruhl’s In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play directed by Jeffrey Jay Fowler is a sassy work about power and passion set in the 1880s, just after the advent of electricity.

Xenides, a new work by Clare Watson, premieres from 25 October to 11 November.

Audiences will revisit Adriana Xenides, the darling of TV Week and glossy magazines who appeared in almost every lounge room across the country as the longest serving game show hostess. She died far too young.

It is an energetic Australian musical expose that is both hilarious and tender, a tribute and a protest.