Exhaustion has forced legendary Australian actor Barry Otto to withdraw from the State Theatre Company’s staging of The Kreutzer Sonata.
The State Theatre Company just announced the 72-year-old actor would no longer be performing the one-man performance after previews on Friday and Saturday. He was advised not to continue the season due to physical exhaustion. Local actor Renato Musolino will replace Otto for the rest of the season.
Barry Otto’s wife Sue Hill said the Bliss and Strictly Ballroom actor was “deeply distressed to withdraw from the production”.
“He has huge admiration for the text by Sue Smith and was enormously excited by Geordie’s production concepts and rehearsal process,” she said in a press release. “He knew this was a mountain to climb and is shattered not to stand on the summit on opening night.”
State Theatre Company’s Chief Executive Rob Brookman said The Kreutzer Sonata was an “incredibly demanding work for the solo actor” who had to deliver 80 minutes of text for the solo performance.
“Barry has worked unbelievably hard in preparation for the role and has dedicated himself to it for three months. It is devastating for him not to be able to continue,” Brookman said in a press release.
State Theatre Company Artistic Director and Kreutzer Sonata Director Geordie Brookman said audiences had a brief glimpse of Otto’s performance last week.
“I am naturally gutted not to be able to share it with our audience. I am, however, hugely grateful to Renato for showing the courage to tackle this role at extremely short notice and know that he will do a wonderful job in honouring Tolstoy’s exquisite novella and Sue Smith’s brilliant adaptation.”
Musolino appeared in previous State Theatre Company productions such as The Misanthrope and Three Sisters. Given the size of the part he will perform with a script-in-hand. The other elements of the production remain unchanged.
State Theatre Company subscribers and all patrons who have bought single tickets to the production will be contacted by State Theatre Company or BASS. Patrons can also contact BASS directly on 131 246.
The Kreutzer Sonata runs until Sunday, March 17 in the State Theatre Company Workshop.