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POSTED: 07 JANUARY 2010

Company B kicks off 2010 with That Face*

Kicking off its 2010 season, Sydney's Company B Belvoir presents That Face – the acclaimed first play by British playwright Polly Stenham. Lee Lewis makes her Company B Belvoir directorial debut with this powerful drama that encapsulates Stenham’s unusual blend of humour and cruelty, wisdom and insolence.

That Face leaps into action from scene one – Henry’s dropped out of school, sister Mia’s been expelled, Mum’s an alcoholic, pill-popping mess and Dad’s escaped the madness to live in Hong Kong with his new wife. From there it progresses to a confronting showdown, landing somewhere between destruction and regeneration.

Stenham’s first play has been praised internationally for its hard-hitting, hyper-real portrait of a fractured, middle class family. Director Lee Lewis said: “That Face is Gen Y’s revenge on the Baby Boomers. Although it is a compelling contemporary drama, it strikes a chord with many theatrical classics because of its vivid portrayal of the age-old power struggle between parents and children. Polly’s description of the shifting of power within this family is remarkably fierce and self assured and it makes for a tragic and darkly humorous play.”

The cast includes Emily Barclay (theatre: Gethsemane for Company B Belvoir; film: Suburban Mayhem for which she won the 2006 AFI Award for Best Lead Actress); Krew Boylan (theatre: Bliss for B Sharp); Kenji Fitzgerald (theatre: Aerosol for Barking Gecko Theatre Company); Marcus Graham (theatre: God of Carnage for Sydney Theatre Company, Jerry Springer: The Opera for Sydney Opera House); Laura Hopkinson and Susie Porter (theatre: Riflemind for Sydney Theatre Company; film: Better Than Sex; TV: East West 101 for which she won the 2009 AFI Award for Best Actress in a Television Drama).

2010 will be a busy year for Lee Lewis. After directing That Face, she will direct Honour for Sydney Theatre Company and Twelfth Night for Bell Shakespeare. As a director Lee’s previous productions include Ladybird (B Sharp/Small Things Productions); 7 Blowjobs, 2,000 Feet Away, A Number (B Sharp/Frogbattleship); Half and Half (B Sharp/Chess Club); Reasonable Doubt (2008 New York Fringe Festival); Love Lies Bleeding (Sydney Theatre Company); Stag, Motel (Wharf 2LOUD); Stoning Mary (Stablemates/Griffin Theatre Company); The Call, The Nightwatchman (Griffin Theatre Company); The Drowned World, Vicious Streaks (co-directed with George Ogilvie) (Darlinghurst Theatre); Kikia Te Poa, The Share (Old Fitzroy Theatre); Trojan Women: A Love Story (Theatre Nepean); Julius Caesar (Seymour Centre)  and Our Town, The Tempest (New Theatre). She is the author of Cross Racial Casting: Changing the Face of Australian Theatre.

That Face was written by Polly Stenham when she was just 19 and premiered at London’s West End in 2007 to critical acclaim and sell-out performances. Charles Spencer, Theatre Critic for the UK’s Daily Telegraph described it as ‘one of the most astonishing debuts I have seen in more than 30 years of theatre reviewing’. Her second play Tusk Tusk was staged at London’s Royal Court Theatre in May 2009. Polly is currently working on a new commission for the Royal Court and two film scripts – an adaptation of Tusk Tusk and a project called Dope Girls. That Face won the 2007 Evening Standard Award for Best New Play, 2007 Critics' Circle Award for Most Promising Playwright and was nominated for Best New Play at the 2009 Olivier Awards.

That Face runs at Belvoir Street Theatre, Surry Hills, from 6 Feb–14 Mar.

*Based on media release issued by Company B Belvoir.

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