March 16, 2012

This is Our Youth New York 1980s Play Comes To Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera has one again brought a world class play to town under its famous brand.

Kieran Culkin is the main character in This Is Our Youth.

New Yorker Kieran Culkin is into Kenneth Lonergan's This Is Our Youth in a big way.

It's primarily a story about relationships, and some get very complicated in this number.

He appears alongside Pilgrim co-star Michael Cera and Emily Barclay at the Sydney Opera House for a two-week run. As far as we know the play is an Australian exclusive for 'The House'.

Culkin has done the play previously on British and American soil. He first appeared in it on London's West End in 2002. 

He tells media "From the second I left stage for the last time 10 years ago, I've just been wanting to do it again," he says.

"I just love this play. I bring it with me wherever I go. It's like my favourite book. I read it all the time. I read it many, many times a year."

Culin doesn't have much of a media profile in many parts of the world including Australia, and he likes it that way...

"I haven't had to deal with a lot of that stuff but I've seen a lot of people, a lot of friends, having to deal with a lot of media attention and it really hinders their lifestyle.

"Their decisions become, 'Do I stay indoors all day and wait till nightfall or do I continue doing what I'm doing but know there's some guy stalking me in a car taking pictures of me?'

"I've tried my best to be as distant from that as possible by trying to remain uninteresting so they don't keep their eye on you! I like the (relaxed) pace of working as often as I do until I go broke!"

This Is Our Youth tells the story of Warren, a 19-year-old in 1982 who makes off with $15,000 of his father's dough and finds refuge at the apartment of his friend Dennis. Warren then aims to win the affections of Jessica (Barclay), while Dennis sees moolah as a cocaine dealer. This leads to chaos.


March 14-25, 8pm, Wednesday and Saturday, 2pm matinee, Sunday 6pm, Sydney Opera House.

TICKETS, 9250 7777

PRICE $55.20-109.

STARS Kieran Culkin, Michael Cera and Emily Barclay.

DIRECTOR Mark Brokaw.

The official pitch...

Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin and Emily Barclay will bring a piece of New York City to the Sydney Opera House stage this autumn, with Kenneth Lonergan’s seminal work This is Our Youth – a darkly funny play about coming of age in New York in the 80s. Award-winning American director Mark Brokaw will re-visit the show (since directing its acclaimed world premiere season in 1996 and a revival in 1998) to work with the all-star cast for this new production. 

This is Our Youth traces a day in the lives of three angst-ridden, New York slackers trying to find a way to escape the gilded cage of their dysfunctional families and decipher their place in the world. Set in 1982, this is a timeless portrait of a disaffected generation, stifled and set adrift by the sudden affluence that came to characterise Reagan’s America. By turns touching, scathingly witty and bittersweet This is Our Youth gives a voice to a group of over-privileged and hyper-articulate kids in a way that questions the similarities in our youth today.

This Is Our Youth has become legendary among theatregoers for its edgy honesty and engaging reflection of the real world. In New York and London the play has seen its fair share of high profile actors including Mark Ruffalo, Hayden Christensen, Matt Damon, Colin Hanks, Chris Klein, Jake Gyllenhaal and Anna Paquin and now it’s Sydney’s turn to see Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin and Emily Barclay in these celebrated roles.

Director Mark Brokaw said, ‘This is Our Youth is one of the most beautifully written American plays of the last 20 years.  Kenneth Lonergan’s ear for these kids’ language, and feel for their emotional heart, bowls me over every time I hear the play.  It's funny, deeply moving, surprising - all at the same time.  It's a real gift to be able to share time with these three characters during their life-changing night in Manhattan.’

Jonathan Bielski, Executive Producer, Sydney Opera House said, ‘Sydney Opera House is excited to bring this thrilling new production of a modern American classic to the Australian stage.  We are delighted to be working with Broadway producer David Binder and this stellar cast, under the inspired direction of Mark Brokaw, and we hope that these young stars will attract a new audience for theatre.’

Canadian screen actor and BAFTA- and SAG-Award nominee Michael Cera is best known to audiences for his starring roles in TV series Arrested Development (2003 onwards) and films including Juno (2007), Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008), Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010), Superbad (2007) and Youth In Revolt (2009).

Golden Globe-nominated Kieran Culkin has starred in films including The Cider House Rules (1999), Igby Goes Down (2002), Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010) and Margaret (2011). He is an accomplished stage actor and appeared in the highly acclaimed 2002 production of This is Our Youth in London’s West End alongside Colin Hanks and Alison Lohman.

AFI- and Inside Film Award-winning Emily Barclay is known for her on-screen role of Katrina in Suburban Mayhem (2006) for which she won the AFI Award for Best Lead Actress. On stage, she has appeared in Melbourne Theatre Company’s The Importance of Being Earnest with Geoffrey Rush, Belvoir’s Gethsemane (2009), That Face (2010) and alongside David Wenham and Judy Davis in The Seagull (2011). In 2012 she will appear in Belvoir’s Strange Interlude (from 5 May). 

Stage director Mark Brokaw is the Artistic Director of the Yale Institute for Music Theatre and will revisit This is Our Youth after having directed the world premiere in 1996, and the 1998 production starring Mark Rosenthal, Mark Ruffalo and Missy Yager. He has directed numerous stage shows, both on- and off-Broadway. He directed the world-premiere of the Pulitzer prize-winning How I Learned to Drive, for which he won a Drama Desk Award, Obie Award and the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Direction of a Play. This will be the first time his work has been showcased in Australia.

Pulitzer Prize and Academy Award-nominated writer Kenneth Lonergan also co-wrote the script for the acclaimed Scorsese-directed film Gangs of New York (2002). In 2000 he wrote and directed You Can Count on Me which went on to be nominated for two Academy Awards. He has written other plays including The Waverley Gallery (2000) and screen plays including The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000) and Margaret (2011).

We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who made today a possible, and we'll see you back at the Sydney Opera House again soon.


Sydney Opera House

Eva Rinaldi Photography Flickr

Eva Rinaldi Photography

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