The last time Ursula Yovich was on a Sydney stage she was starring in hit play The Sapphires, dressed head to toe in sequins, pregnant, and belting out 1960s girl group songs.
Now she is in a new show, Nailed, playing a barefoot, 14-year-old teenager on a 1959 Aboriginal mission. The only similarity to her last stage outing is that, once again, she is pregnant.
But these are not the only two I have played as I have done quite a few pregnant young women roles, she says during a break in rehearsals for Nailed, which has its world premiere at the SBW Stables Theatre on 14 July.
I keep saying that one day I am going to have this child I have been carrying around on stage for a few years.
Nailed is the story of teenage lovers May (Yovich) and Joe (Tim Draxl) who go on the run from an Aboriginal mission after May realises that once she gives birth her child will be taken from her.
The pair take refuge in stables owned by a childless couple whose own relationship is on the verge of breaking down.
Someone asked me if it was anything like Romeo And Juliet, and it’s really not, she says. If anything, it is more like a Greek tragedy, with a very Australian angle to it.
It is about her beliefs in wanting a family and having something that she owns and that she can have a say in. She is scared because she is living on a mission and they will take her child from her -“ there is no question about that. The fact that she runs away from the mission is a big deal.
For the young guy, it is a tragedy as he doesn’t understand and can’t believe in what she wants. He runs away initially and then when he comes back, she has come up with this whole fantasy that God is the father of her child. He can’t grasp what is going on at all.
Annie Byron and Wayne Pygram star as the other couple. The play has been written by Caleb Lewis and is directed by David Berthold.
Yovich released her first music single, Sketches, last year and is also working on a new album.
While she is one of the country’s most acclaimed musical theatre talents for her work in such musicals as Corrugation Road, The Sunshine Club and The Threepenny Opera, not to mention the sold-out season of The Sapphires, she admits one of the reasons she is appearing in Nailed is that it is a drama without music.
I am not singing at all in this one as it is straight drama, she says. I am looking forward to doing the show because straight drama is a challenge to me -“ although I do hope to be having a sing again soon.
Nailed premieres at the SBW Stables Theatre, 10 Nimrod Street, Kings Cross, on 14 July. Bookings: 9361 3817.