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Press Releases


23 Jan 2017

The incomparable Helen Morse (The Aunt’s Story) returns to the stage alongside Ursula Mills making her MTC debut in John, the latest highly acclaimed work from Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Annie Baker.

Directed by MTC Associate Director Sarah Goodes, audiences will be captivated by this intriguing play, also starring Johnny Carr (What Rhymes with Cars and Girls) and Melita Jurisic (Mad Max: Fury Road), when it opens on Thursday 16 February at Arts Centre Melbourne, Fairfax Studio.

Over the past decade, Annie Baker has found poetry in extraordinary dialogue and ultra-ordinary situations. In John she splashes a liberal measure of Gothic eeriness into the pot.

Sarah Goodes said, ‘Annie Baker’s John explores and celebrates the unique quality of immediacy and intimacy of theatre. It activates the extraordinary inside the everyday and burrows towards the human need for connection and empathy. The opportunity to see this astonishing new piece of writing brought to life by some of the country’s most experienced and talented actors, is a remarkable opportunity not to be missed.’

A young couple, Jenny and Elias, arrive late one evening at Mertis Graven’s bed and breakfast in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania – historic site of a terrible Civil War battle. They are trying to get over some history of their own. Each is prickly and easily feels the other’s stings. Perhaps in this comfortable home surrounded by dolls, knick-knacks and Mertis’ blind and eccentric friend Genevieve, they can find peace with each other. But the past can be a kind of haunting, where rooms are temperamental and you never know what objects are thinking.

Annie Baker is a multi award-winning American playwright whose plays include Circle Mirror Transformation (Obie Award for Best New American Play, Drama Desk nomination for Best New American Play) which had its Australian premiere at MTC in 2011; The Flick (Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, Obie Award for Playwriting); The Aliens (Obie Award for Best New American Play); and Body Awareness (Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations for Best Play/Emerging Playwright). Her plays have been produced at over 150 theatres throughout the US and have been produced internationally in over a dozen countries.

New MTC Associate Director Sarah Goodes has garnered a reputation as a leading director of new Australian and international work, attracting critical acclaim and multiple award nominations for her productions including Disgraced, The Hanging, Switzerland, Battle of Waterloo, The Effect and Orlando (all for Sydney Theatre Company). Formerly resident director at STC, she has also directed Vere (Faith), The Splinter and Edward Gant’s Amazing Feats of Loneliness for the company. Other directing credits include Black Milk, The Sweetest Thing and The Small Things (Belvoir); The Colour of Panic (Sydney Opera House and its Norwegian tour); Vertigo and the Virginia and The Schelling Point, Hilt and What Happened Was (Old Fitzroy Theatre); and The Unscrupulous Murderer Hasse Karlson Reveals the Gruesome Truth About the Woman Who Froze to Death on a Railway Bridge (Darlinghurst Theatre Company).

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Julia Blake has had to withdraw from the production of John. The role of Genevieve Marduk will now be played by Melita Jurisic.


Cast Johnny Carr, Melita Jurisic, Ursula Mills, Helen Morse

Director Sarah Goodes

Set & Costume Designer Elizabeth Gadsby

Composer & Sound Designer Russell Goldsmith

Lighting Designer Richard Vabre

Voice & Dialect Coach Geraldine Cook-Dafner


‘So good on so many levels that it casts a unique and brilliant light.’ The New Yorker

‘Inspiring. More than any play I’ve seen recently, John acknowledges, and even celebrates, the act of watching a play in a theatre.’ Slate


Season Dates
10 February – 25 March

Opening Night
Thursday 16 February, 8pm

Arts Centre Melbourne, Fairfax Studio

Single Tickets
On sale now
03 8688 0800

Published on 23 January 2017

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