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Robert Cavanah

Theatre Credits

Here are some of the theatrical productions in which Robert has appeared.

Robert as the lead in The Scottish Play

Macbeth (2012)

Robert played the lead role in The Scottish Play at the Octogon Theatre in Bolton from February 23rd to March 17th, 2012. For more information, see the Octogon Theatre website.

Men Should Weep (2010)

Written by Ena Lamont Stewart in 1947, this popular, gritty Scottish play (hailed as one of the most important plays of the 20th Century in the National Theatre millennium poll) deals with the plight of the women in one family in East Glasgow during the extreme poverty of the 1930s Depression. Men Should Weep opens in the Lyttelton Theatre on 26 October 2010.

Information about the play is available on Wikipedia (includes spoilers).

Visit the National Theatre web site.

The Water's Edge (2009)

A play by Theresa Rebeck, directed by Fiona Morrell, and presented by Arcola Theatre in London in February 2009. Cast: Robert Cavanah, Mark Field, Madeleine Potter, Kate Sissons, Cressida Trew

Quote from Arcola Theatre's Web site:

Deep in the Massachusetts woods, a lakeside mansion slides slowly into disrepair, all change halted after a terrible tragedy many years before. Rich and successful, Richard returns to reclaim it, model girlfriend in tow. But his family still live there, and as he tries to insinuate himself back into their lives, the reason for his departure emerges and seething bitterness and anger boil into shocking action.

Caustic, funny, poignant and thought-provoking, The Water’s Edge, echoing Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, flings itself from American naturalism to the heart of Greek Tragedy, where revenge and murder lurk unseen.

The Water’s Edge marks the arrival of New York phenomenon, Theresa Rebeck, onto the UK stage.

The Water’s Edge is the second in the Arcola series Re-imagining the Classics inspired by Greek theatre, following In Blood: The Bacchae in January 2009.

Review by Backstage Magazine, NY:

COMPELLING, BRILLIANT AND AFFECTING! IT MUST BE SEEN! There is no question that Theresa Rebeck is one of the strongest playwrights of her generation.

Robert as Lieutenant Portuondo in Two Sisters and a Piano

Two Sisters and a Piano (2003)
Robert is Lieutenant Portuondo in the European premiere of Pulitzer Prize-winner Nilo Cruz's play. This production has been getting good reviews (see below).

Cast: Sophie - Eva Alexander; Maria Celia - Catalina Botello; Lieutenant Portuondo - Robert Cavanah; and Victor Manuael - Stephen Hudson.

Havana, Cuba, 1991. Maria Celia and her sister Sofia, under house arrest in their family home, take refuge in their writing and music. The two sisters struggle daily to keep their passion and art alive. When censorship denies Maria Celia her husband's love letters, Lieutenant Portuondo offers to read them to her, but at a price, the sisters must then decide whether to take a dangerous chance on freedom.

Intense moments - sensual and cerebral. Cuba 1991 is the setting for this play, with Nick Barnes' design we are in the hot, suffocating, and grimy heat of a house where two sisters have been released from prison into house arrest. One, Sophie, is playing as we enter fragments of Cuban rhythms and classical composers' phrases. She and her sister, the writer Maria Celia, are fragments themselves of a family whose men folk have gone abroad - their father and Maria Celia's husband.

Eva Alexander is Sophie the younger, vitaller person, recklessly she flings herself around the decaying house, it's because of her sister she is there. Her sister wrote about freedom and change - a dangerous thing to do in a once revolutionary state now wanting to control what happens. Almost febrile is her sister Maria Celia, a woman who, until Lieutenant Portuondo appears with a proposition, has only hopes that her husband is writing to her or doing anything. Catalina Botello's portrayal of the older sister gives us the whiphard will of the political idealist who desires to ensure she keeps her intellectual soul. The contrast between them and the sisterly sparring are some of the delights of this production, well cast and directed by Paola Dionisotti.

In the confinement of house arrest, we see the sisters become wasted and distraught by their captivity, a state Lieutenant Portuondo plays on. As he reads to the writer her husband's letters what was a straight trade becomes warped by each person's humanity. Robert Cavanah's confident military bearing changes into a man literally seduced by the words he speaks. While Victor the piano tuner who comes to remedy the years neglected instrument sparks intense hope in Sophie's body, Eve Alexander makes the audience quiver with her longing while Stephen Hudson's Victor is a man we hope she'll play with again soon.

It's a sharp production containing some intense moments both sensual and cerebral. Cruz's play makes us examine whether it is the political idealist left behind in her own country who is impotent and fruitless or the exile who is self-seeking and neutered. The languor of the beginning is beautifully handled while the later piercing of the communist bubble by the events of 1991 recalls that all idealogies and regimes can keep the wolf of change only so long from their doors.

© Review by Thelma Good 5 Sept 2003. Published on EdinburghGuide.com

Four Nights in Knaresborough (2001)
Robert played the knight de Traci in this touring production (by New Vic Workship with Jenny King for the Touring Consortium by arrangement with Centreline Productions). The play, written by Paul Webb, is about the four knights who murdered Thomas Becket in 1170. The first performance was in September 2001 in Canterbury at the Marlowe Theatre. Quotes below are from Centreline's web site.

"Historical Context: On Christmas Day 1170, four knights left Henry II's household in Normandy and travelled to Canterbury. In the early evening of 29 December they murdered Thomas Becket. This remains one of the most controversial episodes in British history. The extent of Henry's complicity has never been proven."

Visit Centreline's educational Resource Pack pages for more details about the production and the history of Thomas Becket's death.

"This startling play was an acclaimed and critical triumph when it was first shown by the New Vic Workshop at the Tricycle Theatre in 1999.

Four crazy, licentious, and powerful killers find themselves abandoned and alone in a country convulsed with outrage after the dramatic murder of Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral. Forced into a deadly waiting game, the fugitives find they have only the four walls of Knaresborough Castle to protect them from the wrath of the nation.

Robert Cavanah stars as one of the four knights who find themselves isolated from the rest of their country by the deed they have done.

Paul Webb's darkly comic and utterly uncompromising play wrenches the lid off one of the most dramatic events in British history."

(Special thanks to Moira for finding Four Nights!)

Julius Caesar (2000)
He was Marc Antony in this production of Shakespeare's play which was performed in London at the Young Vic Theatre and in Japan before Christmas to excellent reviews.

The play, Shakespeare's shortest, chronicles the events leading up to Julius Caesar's assassination and the immediate consequences of his death. In brief, a number of politicians, jealous of Caesar's godlike status among the Roman citizens despite his physical frailty, conspire to kill him. He has been offered the Roman crown on three occasions, but has declined it each time, thereby preserving Rome as a republic; nevertheless, they argue that he is en route to becoming a tyrant. They convince Brutus, Caesar's good friend, that the people of Rome want Caesar killed and that Caesar is angling to become autocrat; because Brutus firmly believes in the governance of the people, he agrees to go along with the conspiracy. Despite many ominous warnings, Caesar goes about his daily life and is attacked by the conspirators on the Ides of March, giving in to death when he sees Brutus among his assailants. At his public funeral, Brutus gives a speech explaining the conspirators' motives and is cheered by the people. But Antony, who earlier told the conspirators that he supported them, gives another speech in which he criticizes the conspirators, reads Caesar's will leaving riches to the city and citizens, and incites the crowd against the conspiracy.

Visit Young Vic Theatre Company's web site.

Kill the Old, Torture Their Young (1998)
Robert appeared at the Traverse Theatre as part of the 1998 Edinburgh Fringe Festival in this production of David Harrower's play.

"KILL THE OLD, TORTURE THEIR YOUNG is a witty and intriguing tragi-comedy of contemporary city life by David Harrower."

Visit the Traverse Theatre's web site.

Traverse Theatre Web Pages

Trivia: Billy Boyd, who plays Pippin Took, the Hobbit, in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, also appeared in this play, which is where, I believe, Robert and Billy first met and became friends.

Love for Love (1996)
Robert played Jeremy in this Chichester Theatre production with Derek Jacobi, Leslie Phillips, and Gary Olsen.

Trivia: Robert got to work again with Derek Jacobi in the TV movie Cadfael: Virgin in the Ice.

Desire Under the Elms (1992?): A play by Eugene O'Neill, it represents one of O'Neill's attempts to place plot elements and themes of Greek tragedy in a rural New England setting. Everyone in the play wants the farm, despite the fact that when Ephraim first bought it, many people considered it worthless. Robert plays one of the three sons, Simon, Peter, and Eben. Produced in Glasgow.

Table for Two (1991): First produced for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (see description below).

Peter Pan (1991): Robert was a pirate for this Christmas production in Glasgow.

Tartuffe (1991?): Written by Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, also known by his stage name, Molière. From Wikipedia: "As the play begins, the well-off Orgon is convinced that Tartuffe is a man of great religious zeal and fervor. In fact, Tartuffe is a scheming hypocrite. He is interesting as a character in that he gets around Orgon not by telling lies, but by allowing him to use his power as the master of the household over everyone else. By the time Tartuffe is exposed and Orgon renounces him, Tartuffe has legal control of his finances and family, and is about to steal all of his wealth and marry his daughter — all at Orgon's own invitation. At the very last minute, the king intervenes, and Tartuffe is condemned to prison...The entire play is written in 1,962 12-syllable lines (alexandrines) of rhyming couplets." Produced for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (I think) and maybe also starring Feliciy Kendal.

MacBeth (1991?): Robert was a soldier in MacBeth in "the Scottish play" by Shakespeare. My source tell me that this production for BBC2 was actually part of an educational series for students studying The Bard. They watch the plays then have discussions afterwards, that sort of thing.

'Night, Mother (1990?): Robert worked as the Production Stage Manager for American Connexion's UK national tour of this play by Marsha Norman.

The Deal (1990?): Robert played the lead in this American play by Matt Witten (Edinburgh, Theatre Workshop & Glasgow Arts Center), which was a crime drama about the FBI.

Table for Two (1990): Robert played the male lead in this play written by Gregg Ward and directed by Donna Orlando , in American Connexion's 1990 Fringe Festival show which was staged at Singapore Sling Restaurant on the Royal Mile (Edinburgh, Scotland). Donna's direction of the site-specific comedy won her a prestigious Capital Award in the Edinburgh International Festival of the Arts in 1990.

Robert acted and worked for The American Connexion Theatre Company, based in Edinburgh (from 1988 - 1993). (Special thank-you to Gregg and Donna! Orlando-Ward & Associates)

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