John in rehearsal
Copyright Pia Johnson

Meet the Team | John

Jenny and Elias arrive late one evening at a kitschy, civil war-themed B&B in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Awkward and harried, they are a couple on the edge. It’s a feeling exacerbated by the sensation they’re being watched. Not just by Mertis and her eccentric friend Genevieve, but by the countless dolls and figurines that occupy their spooky lodgings. This might not be the right place, or the right company, for Jenny and Elias to mend their fraying relationship.

Meet the cast and creative team behind the Australian premiere production of Annie Baker’s John.

Johnny Carr (Elias Schreiber-Hoffman)

Johnny Carr graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts in 2008. His theatre credits include Edward II (Malthouse), The Events (Belvoir/Malthouse/ STCSA) What Rhymes with Cars and Girls (Melbourne Theatre Company); The Dream (Bell Shakespeare); The Boys (Griffin Theatre); M + M (Daniel Schlusser Ensemble); The Suicide (The Hayloft Project/B Sharp); Charcoal Creek (Merrigong) and Leaves of Glass and The Rites of Evil (Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre). Johnny’s screen credits include Stories I Want to Tell You in Person, Rush, City Homicide, and the web series The Greatest Love of All (Winner of best foreign Web Series NYC WEB FEST 2014) and Echo Chamber. In 2013 Johnny received the Marten Bequest Travel Scholarship for Acting, where he trained at Ecole Philippe Gaulier. Johnny has been a proud member of Equity since 2008.

Melita Jurisic (Genevieve Marduk)

Melita Jurisic has an extensive reer with many theatre credits in Australia including I am a Miracle, Night on Bald Mountain (Malthouse); The Wizard of Oz (Belvoir); Macbeth, Suddenly Last Summer, Women of Troy, Mourning Becomes Electra, Tartuffe (STC); Poppea (Sydney Opera House); The Lost Breath (Melbourne International Arts Festival) and King Lear (Bell Shakespeare). Melita’s stage credits in Europe include Medea, Macbeth, Tales of Hoffman, Das Schloss (Vienna Schauspielhaus); Lysistrata, Kasimir & Karoline (Perchtoldsdorf); In the Jungle of the Cities (Landestheater Linz); The Caucasian Chalk Circle (Grand Theatre Luxembourgh); Purimspil (Linz: European Capital of Culture); Poppea (Berliner Ensemble/Edinburgh festival); The Family Table (Vienna festival); Middentity (Nitra festival, Slovakia); Wiener Laecheln (Komische Opera, Berlin) and Das Tortenstueck (Donau festival, Austria). Melita’s film credits include Mad Max: Fury Road, Kotlovina, Transatlantic, The Sound of One Hand Clapping and The Tale of Ruby Rose for which she won the International Critic’s prize for Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival.

Ursula Mills (Jenny Chung)

Ursula Mills makes her Melbourne Theatre Company debut in John, playing the role of Jenny Chung. Ursula was a member of ‘The Residents’ at Sydney Theatre Company, there her theatre credits include: Vs. Macbeth (Adelaide Festival in collaboration with The Border Project), Orestaia, Accidental Death of an Anarchist, The Mysteries: Genesis, Leviathan and Comedy of Errors. In 2015, Ursula received a nomination for Best Actress in a Mainstage Production for Kryptonite, a co-production between STC and State Theatre Company of South Australia. Other theatre credits include: Elektra/Orestes (Belvoir) and Betrayal (Ensemble Theatre Company). Ursula has a series of film and television credits including Peter Pan (Universal Pictures) and Out of the Blue (Network Ten). She received her formal training at Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), and The Groundlings Theatre and School in 2016. Ursula was awarded the Ian Potter Cultural
Trust Grant in 2016 and the Shark Island Institute Award for Emerging Artists in 2012.

Helen Morse (Mertis Katherine Graven)

Helen Morse has worked in many productions for Melbourne Theatre Company including Frozen, A Little Night Music, Arcadia, The Tempest, The Marriage of Figaro, Our Country’s Good, The Crucible, The Cherry Orchard, Hedda Gabler, Europe and Twelfth Night. She played Katherine Mansfield in Alma de Gröen’s The Rivers Of China; received a Green Room award for de Gröen’s play about Anna Akhmatova, The Woman in the Window, and played Theodora Goodman in Adam Cook’s adaptation of Patrick White’s The Aunt’s Story. She recently performed in Daniel Keene’s Photographs of A (Antechamber/ MTC NEON); Wit with Artisan Collective, Dreamers (Fortyfivedownstairs); and Michael Gow’s Once In Royal David’s City (Belvoir); KAGE’s Sundowner (national tour); Love.War.Death. BREL (Adelaide Cabaret Festival); Tim Winton’s Signs Of Life, Joan Didion’s The Year Of Magical Thinking (Kate Cherry/BSSTC) and Robyn Archer’s Architektin (STCSA). Helen’s other stage work includes: Ivanov, Duets for Lovers & Dreamers ,The Rain, (Fortyfivedownstairs); Prophet & Loss (Here Theatre); Death & the Maiden (STC/national tour); A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Under Milk Wood (STCSA) and Nick Enright’s Good Works (Kim Durban/Playbox).

Sarah Goodes (Director)

John is Sarah Goodes’ second assignment for Melbourne Theatre Company following her critically and publicly acclaimed direction of Switzerland last year. Sarah’s reputation as a leading director of new Australian and international work has been built on wide-spread praise and multiple award nominations. Formerly Resident Director at Sydney Theatre Company, Sarah directed The Hanging, Disgraced, Orlando, Battle of Waterloo, The Effect, Vere (Faith), The Splinter, and Edward Gant’s Amazing Feats of Loneliness. Her other directing credits include Elling, Black Milk, The Sweetest Thing, and The Small Things (B Sharp Belvoir); The Colour of Panic (Sydney Opera House); Vertigo and the Virginia, 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). In 2015 she was the recipient of the Gloria Payten Travel Scholarship.

Elizabeth Gadsby (Set and Costume Designer)

Elizabeth Gadsby makes her Melbourne Theatre Company debut as Set & Costume Designer in John. After a critically acclaimed season as Resident Designer at Sydney Theatre Company in 2016, Elizabeth works alongside MTC Associate Director Sarah Goodes after following their success on Disgraced and The Hanging (STC). Elizabeth’s other theatre design credits include Cinderella (Belvoir St Theatre), A Rabbit for Kim Jong-il (Griffin Theatre Company), Fly Away Peter and An Index of Metals (Sydney Chamber Opera). Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Painting) from National Art School and a Bachelor of Dramatic Arts (Design) from NIDA. She is a recent recipient of an Australia Council ‘Art Start’ Grant, a William Fletcher Scholar and was resident in the City of Sydney’s 2016 ‘Creative Living Work Space’ program.

Richard Vabre (Lighting Designer)

Richard Vabre is a freelance lighting designer who has lit productions for Melbourne Theatre Company, Sydney Theatre Company, Malthouse Theatre, Belvoir St Theatre Victorian Opera, Windmill Theatre, Arena Theatre Company, NICA, Darwin Festival, Stuck Pig’s Squealing, Chambermade, Rawcus, Red Stitch, Polyglot, and Aphids. Richard has won four Green Room Awards including the Association’s John Truscott Prize for Excellence in Design (2004). He has also been nominated for seven other Green Room Awards. For MTC, Richard has previously lit Lungs, The Waiting Room, What Rhymes with Cars and Girls, Top Girls, On the Production of Monsters, The Water Carriers, The Apocalypse Bear Trilogy, and The Colours.

Russell Goldsmith (Composer and Sound Designer)

Russell Goldsmith is a multiple award winning Melbourne based Sound Designer, Composer, Producer and Audio System Designer. He has a diverse body of work in theatre, film, television, commercial and radio production, live music and installation works. He has worked as the sound designer and composer for Melbourne Theatre Company productions of Disgraced, Lungs, Endgame, What Rhymes with Cars and Girls, I’ll Eat You Last, The Speechmaker, Ghosts, The Other Place, His Girl Friday, The Golden Dragon, Don Parties On, The Swimming Club and Ruby Moon (for MTC Education). He had his Broadway debut in 2009 with the critically acclaimed season of Malthouse/Belvoir’s Exit The King at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, where it played for sixteen weeks. Russell has received multiple Greenroom Award nominations, while his sound design for Exit the King won the 2007 Sydney Theatre Award, and was nominated for Best Sound Design at both the 2008 Green Room Awards (Melbourne) and the 2009 Tony Awards (New York).

Geraldine Cook-Dafner (Voice and Dialect Coach)

Geraldine Cook-Dafner previously worked for Melbourne Theatre Company on The Odd Couple, Straight White Men, The Distance, Birdland, The Waiting Room, Top Girls, The Heretic, The Swimming Club, The 39 Steps, The History Boys, All My Sons, The Clean House, Boy Gets Girl, Take Me Out and The Glass Menagerie. She trained at Middlesex University, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and she is an Honorary Fellow in the theatre department at the faculty of MCM. Geraldine also works as a voice consultant in film, ABC Radio, SBS Radio, and for local corporate and government bodies. Geraldine was previously Head of Voice, Head of School of Performing Arts and an Associate Dean at the Faculty of VCA and MCM, University of Melbourne.

Published on 2 February 2017

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