Suddenly Last Summer

By Tennessee Williams
October 5-November 4, Red Stitch Actor’s Theatre, 2018
Director: Stephen Nicolazzo
Set & Costume Design: Eugyeene Teh
Sound Design & Composition: Dan Nixon
Lighting Design: Katie Sfetkidis
Stage Manager: Liberty Gilbert
Assistant Designer: James Lew
Assistant Directors: Aleks Corke and Alyssa Hall
Featuring Kate Cole, Caroline Lee, Harvey Zielinski, Charles Purcell, Zoe Boesen, Chanella Macri, and Jennifer Vuletic
Presented by Red Stitch Actor’s Theatre in association with Little Ones Theatre

“Most people’s lives—what are they but trails of debris, each day more debris, more debris, long, long trails of debris with nothing to clean it all up but, finally, death.”

Savagely poetic and provocative, Tennessee Williams’ Suddenly Last Summer is a nightmarish contemporary masterpiece.

This is Sebastian’s garden, a place where the line between truth and lies, sanity and insanity are blurred. Welcome to the eerie Garden District, filled with Venus fly traps, subversive secrets, and broken hearts.

The only son of wealthy widow Violet Venable, Sebastian, has died while on vacation with his rebellious cousin Catharine. What the girl saw that day last summer was so horrible that she is presumed mad and locked away in an asylum to keep her mouth shut.

As time goes on, Catharine’s ravings about Sebastian’s sexuality and fate become so transgressive that his dear mother Violet decides that locking her away isn’t enough. She calls in an aspirational young Doctor to have the girl lobotomised and cut out her hideous story for good.

A thrilling examination of legacy, sanity, and sexuality, this Southern gothic melodrama will cut straight through the heart with its visceral imagery and erotically charged symbolism

From the director of Red Stitch’s multiple award nominated The Moors, Stephen Nicolazzo, and featuring the astounding Jennifer Vuletic and Kate Cole, this production marks the company’s first foray into the iconic and beloved playwright, Tennessee Williams’ beautiful and theatrical mind. Suddenly Last Summer received critical and audience acclaim.

Featured in: The Age’s 2018 yearly round up of standout theatre performances.

★★★★ “A stunning, thorny jewel in the queer canon…Some of us have been waiting a while for visionary director and founder of Little Ones Theatre Stephen Nicolazzo to tackle a playwright worthy of his unique talents, and there seemed none more apt than Tennessee Williams, the master of an emotional lyricism that can push so easily into fevered psychological nightmare. This director has been eyeing the queer canon from the beginning, stalking its edges in a way, and he’s now determined to leave his imprint on its internal organs. Kate Cole is magnificent; impossibly vulnerable…When the story finally comes, she has the audience transfixed, and it’s impossible to look away.”
Tim Bryne, Time Out

“The most sensuous of our theatre makers, Nicolazzo and his design team overwhelm our senses. They sedate us with mysterious beauty. Yet again, Eugyeene Teh has made a familiar stage into something alien. Kate Cole is more than up to the challenge…the lights adore her. The music adores her. Her glittering little black dress adores her. She is hypnotic. Her acting is telepathic. She and her truth are our salvation.”
Chris Boyd, The Australian

“Nicolazzo has a feeling for stories where the lure of the darkness is also a way out of the closet. It’s a Southern Gothic that twists [Tennessee Williams’] lifelong obsession with his mother, with his sister’s mental illness, with the savage and untameable shadowland of his own sexuality, into the sharp silhouette of psychological horror. Jennifer Vuletic provides a spidery, brittle and increasingly malignant incarnation of the vampiric Violet, while Kate Cole navigates bafflement and clarity to arrive at a quiet shore of heroism as a sane woman traumatised by a story everyone thinks is too horrible to be true. Both of them are charismatic, achieve a flawless drawl and deliver the playwright’s lyricism with an intuitive rhythm and a complex and perverse emotional palette. They will impress anyone who cares about acting.”
Cameron Woodhead, The Age

“Suddenly Last Summer is dark, unsettling and delightful; sharp, intrusive and hilarious.”
Keith Gow, Witness Performance

“Stephen Nicolazzo and designer Eugyeene Teh are the ideal choice to give this Southern Gothic piece a heightened, stylised reality. There’s an ironic, riskily comic mode at first, but when the luminous Kate Cole takes over the story and the stage, the darkness and horror of this fable close in and dominate to the shattering conclusion. We hang on every word delivered by this great cast in which Ms Vuletic, with her ruthless but sentimental cruelty, and Ms Cole, fighting to cling to what she witnessed with pity and terror, sweep all before them.”
Michael Brindley, Stage Whispers

“A subtle and intensely entrancing production. [Jennifer] Vuletic is a standout. Suddenly Last Summer is an ode to marvellous storytelling; enriched with symbolism and elegance, Williams’ writing comes alive”
Leeor Adar, Theatre Press

“Haunting, horrific and richly poetic…a breathtaking production”
Aridhi Anderson, Weekend Notes

“The language and performances are mesmerising. I was just so ‘in the moment’, hanging on their every word as tension built. And the staging…Set and costume designer Eugyeene Teh has knocked it out of the park. Stephen Nicolazzo’s direction is detailed and exacting. The result is a fine night of theatre – a sordid mystery that draws you in”
Alex First, The Blurb