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The Present

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Closed March 19, 2017

"A tart tragedy, infused with corrosive humor... The headline draw is the incandescent chemistry between Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh, both superb, playing characters whose dissatisfaction spreads like contagion among the guests."

The Hollywood Reporter

Why See The Present?

cate Blanchett on broadway

The luminous Cate Blanchett makes her Broadway debut at long last, starring in acclaimed drama The Present. She plays Anna Petrovna, a well-to-do widow whose birthday celebrations threaten to spill over into violence as the wine flows and long held grudges and desires push themselves towards the surface. Blanchett's playwright husband Andrew Upton adapted the story from Anton Chekhov's Platonov, honing the lengthy text into a very funny but also very tragic exploration of missed opportunities. Oscar nominee John Crowley (Brooklyn) directs.

Two time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett (The Aviator, Blue Jasmine) has always maintained a busy stage career amidst her film work. The Present marks the fourth time that she's led a Syndey Theater Company production to New York, having previously wowed the city's audiences in Hedda Gabler, A Streetcar Named Desire and The Maids. Her STC co-star Richard Roxburgh (Moulin Rouge!) reprises his role as Platonov, also making his Broadway debut.

Chekhov's Forgotten Play

The Present is the latest adaptation of Chekhov's most obscure and confounding work. Penned in 1878 when the playwright was only twenty, Chekhov's first full length drama (later christened Platonov in English) was written specifically for Russian theater star Maria Yermalova, yet was never finished. It was first published in 1923, 19 years after Chekhov's death, but due to its unwieldy structure and sprawling run time of five hours, was seen as a 'problem' play and was rarely performed. Not until Michael Frayn's slimmed down 1984 adaptation, titled Wild Honey, did the story truly enter the theatrical canon.

What is The Present About?

It's summer in the Russia of 1993, and the once wealthy widow Anna Petrovna is throwing a party at her country house to celebrate her 40th birthday. Among the guests is the witty and sardonic Platonov, a known womaniser who is attending the party with his wife, but still holds a flame for Anna. As the evening wears on, and the wine flows, the guests reminisce about the lives they could have had, and this nostalgic mood spills over into frustration and resentment.

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Additional Information


Previews from: 17 December 2016

Opening night: 8 January 2017


Not suitable for children - contains coarse language, gunshots and smoke effects

Run time

Three hours with one intermission

And before you stop reading

Images are from the production in Australia and property of the Sydney Theatre Company

Cast and Creative


Cate Blanchett as Anna Petrovna
Richard Roxburgh as Platonov
Anna Bamford as Maria
Andrew Buchanan as Osip
David Downer as Yegor
Eamon Farren as Kirrill
Martin Jacobs as Alexei
Brandon McClelland as Dimitri
Jacqueline McKenzie as Sophia
Marshall Napier as Ivan
Susan Prior as Sasha
Chris Ryan as Sergei
Toby Schmitz as Nikolai


Written by Andrew Upton
Adapted from Platonov by Anton Chekhov
Directed by John Crowley

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