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Ursula Yovich marks stage return with The Lewis trilogy

Joseph Guenzler -

Burarra woman Ursula Yovich from North West Arnhem Land, renowned for her roles in productions such as The Sunshine Club, The Sapphires and Carpicornia has joined the ensemble of eight Sydney actors in Griffin Theatre Company's upcoming production, The Lewis Trilogy.

The iconic SBW Stables Theatre will host this seven-hour epic from 9 February to 21 April.

Featuring Louis Nowra's acclaimed plays, The Lewis Trilogy offers a unique perspective on the theatre, marking a temporary farewell before its relocation.

Returning from her hiatus in theatre, Ms Yovich is excited in her return to this ground-breaking trilogy.

"I was burnt out and needed to spend that time with my family," she said.

"This particular show is three plays that he's written which follows one particular character which is kind of loosely based on the playwright.

"I've only ever been familiar with the second play which is 'Così' and it was it was the first play I'd ever seen I was in high school."

Ms Yovich in rehearsals for The Lewius Trilogy. (Image: supplied)

In her late 40s Ms Yovich found a new approach, appreciating a broader perspective and embracing gentleness, especially in interactions with younger cast members, which is exciting for her.

"I really enjoyed it actually and my approach has been very different being in my in my late 40s," Ms Yovich said.

"I feel like I can kind of see things from a more macro perpective and I feel a lot more softer and gentle and I can enjoy these moments especially with the younger cast members.

"But I'm still learning myself...and you know, who can say that they spend their days laughing at their work."

Audiences can indulge in this unprecedented experience, choosing to attend individual plays on separate nights or immerse themselves in the full-day spectacle.

The Lewis Trilogy by Louis Nowra tracks Lewis's life from 1962 to 2017, depicting his quest for identity amidst a changing world. (Image: supplied/Brett Boardman)

The Lewis Trilogy, a semi-autobiographical creation spanning the years 1992 to 2017, vividly captures a rich tapestry of a life well-lived.

Kicking off the theatrical triptych is Summer of the Aliens, making a return to Australian main stages after nearly three decades.

Set against the Cuban missile crisis, the play unfolds in working-class Melbourne, portraying the sun-soaked coming-of-age journey of 14-year-old Lewis, navigating issues of class, closed doors, and global catastrophes of galactic proportions.

Following this, the Australian classic Così takes the stage, recognised as a staple in school curriculums and adapted into a film.

The narrative revolves around Lewis, a recent university graduate tasked with directing a Mozart opera for in-patients at a mental health ward.

Against the backdrop of Australia's anti-Vietnam war movement, tensions rise to operatic levels both inside and outside the institution.

The Trilogy concludes with This Much is True, written 25 years after its predecessors.

Serving as Nowra's ode to the old timers, motley crews, and unwitting raconteurs gathering at the local watering hole, the play adds a maraschino cherry to the theatrical experience.

Lewis, now middle-aged and divorced, finds himself situated between social housing and multi-million-dollar apartments in Nowra's beloved Woolloomooloo.

"I wanted the three plays to be really affectionate towards human beings," Mr Nowra said.

"Another playwright could take the asylum and housing commission and make them into a really dark play.

"I wanted to say that these people make up my world, they've influenced me greatly, they give me so much more than I give them."

A divine comedy unfolds against a ticking clock, with "last drinks" beckoning Lewis before life's significant questions are addressed.

The connection between Mr Nowra, Kings Cross, and Griffin Theatre Company is woven into the fabric of the upcoming production, serving as a fitting tribute to the Stables' Darlinghurst legacy.

This poignant celebration comes as the theatre prepares for a significant redevelopment, set to close its doors in mid-2024 and reopen in 2026.

Tickets are available here.

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