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Judy Davis returns to stage in Australian production of 'The Seagull'

June 16, 2011 |  1:22 pm

  THE SEAGULL Judy Davis & Dylan Young by Heidrun Lohr

One of the most anticipated theater events of the summer is taking place far away from Broadway and doesn't involve Mormons or superheroes in Spandex.

Actress Judy Davis is returning to the stage after a seven-year absence, appearing in a new production of Chekhov's "The Seagull" at the Belvoir Street Theatre, near Sydney, Australia. Davis plays the role of manipulative actress Arkadina in this updated version, adapted and directed by Benedict Andrews, that sets the drama in an Aussie beach shack.

"The Seagull," running through July 17, has virtually sold out its limited run. The attraction for many is the rare chance to see Davis, who is a multiple Emmy winner and two-time Academy Award nominee. Her last stage appearance was in 2004, in a production of Howard Barker's "Victory" at the Sydney Theatre Company.

Davis has had a distant relationship with the media throughout her career and has declined interviews related to "The Seagull." You can get a glimpse of some production footage of the play in this report from the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Reviews of "The Seagull" have been overwhelmingly positive. The reviewer for the Sydney Morning Herald wrote that Davis' "girlish capering has a steely determination to it," while her plea to the character Trigorin "is played as a masterclass in manipulation."

The review in The Australian called the ensemble cast "wonderful. Dylan Young and Maeve Dermody make the brightest and most enchantingly hopeless Konstantin and Nina that you could wish for."

This year is shaping up to be a busy one for Davis. She recently wrapped movies directed by Fred Schepisi and David Hare, and later this summer, she'll reunite with Woody Allen for a comedy shooting in Italy. Davis is also slated to star in a 3-D biopic of the artist Salvador Dali.

L.A. theater fans with long memories will recall that Davis starred in a 1989 production of Tom Stoppard's "Hapgood," produced by Center Theatre Group. Here's a photo of Davis (with costar Roger Rees) in the L.A. staging of "Hapgood," provided by CTG. (The production took place at the Doolittle Theatre, now the Montalban Theatre, in Hollywood.)

  Hapgood photo 2


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-- David Ng

Upper photo: Judy Davis and Dylan Young in "The Seagull" at the Belvoir Street Theatre. Credit: Heidrun Lohr

Lower photo: Roger Rees and Davis in "Hapgood" at the Doolittle Theatre in Los Angeles in 1989. Credit: Jay Thompson / Center Theatre Group