Russian Transport at Darlinghurst Theatre Company
A powerful and suspenseful drama, Russian Transport follows an immigrant Russian family struggling to survive in Brooklyn, NY.
Dark secrets emerge when a mysterious and charming uncle arrives from Smolensk. He tests family loyalty and preys on their weaknesses. Provocative and disturbingly funny, Russian Transport questions how far one will go for the sake of family and the pursuit of the American dream.
Rosie chats with actor Rebecca Rocheford Davies about Fishy Productions' Australian premiere of this thrilling work and the changing landscape of Australian theatre. Read the full interview below:
Rebecca Rocheford Davies
For those who aren’t familiar with the play, can you give us an insight into the story? What can audiences expect from this particular production?
Russian Transport takes place in current day Brooklyn. The play starts out as a domestic comedy and accelerates into a moral thriller. One of the more surprising aspects of the play is the use of some Russian language – which will be understood as answers are in English. Audiences will feel like a fly on the wall as relationships and secrets unfold before them.
Russian Transport is described as a suspenseful drama that “questions how far one will go for the sake of family and the pursuit of the American dream”. With a focus on the American dream, how do you think this story will translate to an Australian audience? Why do you think it was time for Russian Transport to make its Australian premiere?
I think the Australian Dream is not that different to the American Dream: own a home, go to university and hopefully make your children’s lives better than your own and certainly better than their grandparents’ lives. Both America and Australia seem to be re-examining what that “dream” is at the moment – and questioning what is most important at the core of what we are actually striving for. Russian Transport examines what is really important in creating that ideal “dream” for ourselves – and also what might need to be sacrificed along the way.
Russian Transport paints a portrait of an immigrant nuclear family and examines the contemporary immigrant experience. Why do you think immigrant stories are coming to the forefront of the Australian arts scene, and why is it important that we keep telling them?
Our cultural landscape is continually shifting, and our stories flow with those changes. This family is Russian and living in America – the parents still very strongly relate to the old world and those values – but they basically have two American kids, raised in Brooklyn. I think it is a situation than most immigrant families could relate to. I think it’s important to keep telling these stories because it allows us to see ourselves in others, rather than separate from others.
I’m interested in this description of the play as a moral thriller. Can you elaborate? Will the audience’s morals be tested, or will we witness the characters come to a moral crossroads?
The audience will witness the characters come to a moral crossroads. I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s say that they will be tested on questions of family loyalty vs. doing the right thing and the audience will get to see which wins out in the end.
Russian Transport was labelled by Chicago Critic as a “must see play”. In your own words, why should Sydney audiences see this show?
When I read the play, I was amazed at the taught, intelligent and deeply layered writing. It’s moving and funny and frightening. The characters are beautifully flawed and often do horrible things, for what they believe, are the right reasons. There will be plenty to talk about in the foyer afterwards!
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS:
Favourite production you’ve ever seen?
My very first play – back in the 80’s at The Childrens’ Theatre in Minneapolis – OLIVER! It changed my life and made me want to act.
You’re getting on a plane tomorrow and you can go anywhere in the world, where do you go?
Port Douglas is my happy place!
Dream show/role to perform in?
I would LOVE to do a musical one day – just wish I could sing better!
Plays or musicals?
I love plays best.
A hobby you have beyond the theatre?
Travel, cycling and cooking – a combination of all three and I would be in heaven!!
What’s next for you after this show?
I ‘m also a writer and director – I’ve been working on a story for a feature film for the past year. I’m looking forward to doing more writing.
Russian Transport opens March 13 2019 at Darlinghurst Theatre Company's Eternity Playhouse. You can get your tickets here.