Stage realism too much for Aussie helmer

'Devil's' collapsing thesp fine; BAM invites play stateside

SYDNEY — Theater director Gale Edwards’ heart has been racing over her adaptation of Jacobean tragedy “The White Devil,” which bowed Aug. 18 as a Sydney Theater Co. presentation at the Sydney Olympic Arts Festival.

At its final preview last week, thesp Hugo Weaving lost consciousness and slumped on the stage floor as his character Brachiano was strangled by two thugs, forcing a horrified Edwards to halt the show thinking the depiction of strangulation had been a tad too enthusiastic.

Publicists later said Weaving’s blackout was caused by influenza and exhaustion as the actor had only recently returned from the New Zealand set of “Lord of the Rings.”

BAM bid

Weaving, best-known overseas for his roles in “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” and “The Matrix,” could also have been sharing the shock and delight of Edwards at the work’s invitation to be part of March main-stage season at New York’s Brooklyn Academy of Music.

The invite was issued by BAM executive producer Joseph Melillo, an Oz theater fan who is rumored to be including the Belvoir Street Theater’s “Cloudstreet” in a season of Aussie works late next year, after attending a “White Devil” preview where everyone maintained consciousness.

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