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Dresden - new Australian play premieres 15 June

BY Geoff Sirmai | 06-Jun-2018
1838: Richard Wagner writes Rienzi. Seventy years later, a 17-year-old Adolf Hitler witnesses the composer’s extraordinary first opera in performance - and is struck dumb. For Wagner, it was one of the greatest creative acts known to us. For Hitler, it set in motion the greatest wave of human destruction we have ever seen. For both, the city of Dresden is their stage.
Justin Fleming’s explosive new play puts passion and power under the microscope through the lens of history and our own horrifying hindsight. Starring Yalin Ozucelik as Adolf, Jeremy Waters as Richard and Renee Lim as Cosima Wagner, Dresden is a story of creativity and destruction and the dark side of human inspiration. Of the fork in the road and how far you might travel along it before you are stopped. It is the story of Hitler and Wagner and the woman who connected them through time.

Following sold-out seasons of The Laden Table and Jatinga in 2017, and Visiting Hours in 2018, bAKEHOUSE Theatre Company is proud to present the world premiere of Justin Fleming's DRESDEN.

The production marks a ten-year relationship between one of Australia's leading playwrights (The Cobra, Burnt Piano, Harold in Italy) and its most ground-breaking independent theatre company. While Fleming is best known to mainstage audiences for his recent translations of Moliere for Bell Shakespeare (his new version of The Misanthrope runs in August), it is his original work that director Suzanne Millar finds most dangerous and exciting:

"There's a huge vision behind any Justin Fleming play,” she says. “Not least because he takes on global, epic stories. They often feature huge casts and tackle explosive issues. And the fascinating thing about Australia's theatre landscape at the moment is that it's the independent rather than the mainstage sector that is taking the lead on this sort of risky work.”

Fleming and Millar have collaborated on six productions, beginning with her holiness at the Seymour Centre in 2008 and including Coup d’Etat at Riverside Theatres in 2011. Their most recent join project was the world premiere of His Mother’s Voice as part of ATYP Selects in 2014. Since then, Millar and bAKEHOUSE have launched the hot new KXT theatre and established its reputation for staging exciting new Australian work - treating Sydney audiences to ambitious, culturally diverse theatrical experiences. Fleming's new play is all this… and more.

Dresden is a forensic examination of passion and love, and the creative obsession. Hitler’s experience of Wagner’s opera was, by his own account, life-changing. What began with an intriguing and ill-fated attempt to write his own opera launched his political career and changed the course of history. And so the haunting question remains: if you could stop this, would you?

Dresden plays Tues-Sun 15-30 June and stars Yalin Ozucelik (fresh from Belvoir’s Sami in Paradise) as Adolf, Jeremy Waters (The Flick) as Richard, and Renee Lim (the hit TV series Pulse) as Cosima Wagner, the woman who connected them through time. With Ben Wood, Dorje Swallow and Tom Campbell. Sound design by Max Lambert.