Wenham Wonderland
Acting Career: Professional Theatre

Cosi (April 1992)

* Synopsis & Cast * David's Role * Trivia * Gallery * Press * Play vs Movie * Quotes * Links * Performance Dates *

Synopsis and Cast:

Aspiring theatre director Lewis is offered a job to direct a play... in a mental institution. When one of the patients insist on putting on the opera Cosi Fan Tutte, Lewis tries to talk him out of it, but is soon caught up with the excitement of putting on this daunting production.

Cast List:
Bob Baines - Henry
David Field - Justin, Nick, Zac
Kerry Fox - Lucy, Julie
Celia Ireland - Cherry
Elspeth MacTavish - Ruth
Ben Mendelsohn - Lewis
Barry Otto - Roy
David Wenham - Doug

David's Role:

David played Doug a pyromaniac who hated cats.


The play was adapted into a film. David, Ben Mendelsohn and Barry Otto were the only original casts members of the play to be in the film.

Ben Mendelsohn (Lewis) also appeared in Australia as Captain Dutton.

Barry Otto (Roy) was also in the play The Tempest, the movies Australia and Legend of the Guardians, and the animated short A Cautionary Tale.

David Field was also in the stage production of The Boys, and in the films Seeing Red and Gettin' Square.

Celia Ireland (Cherry) also appeared in the stage productions of That Eye, The Sky, The Headbutt, and the film Idiot Box.

Director Adam Cook was the director for the staged reading of Songs from the Yellow Bedroom.

Play vs Movie:

1. The play takes place in the early 70's during the Vietnam war.

2. It's far more politically driven than the movie.

3. The basic theme is that all men and women are unfaithful.

4. The entire play takes place inside the theatre. No field trips to Nick's play. No scenes at Lewis and Lucy's home. No surprise visits from Doug. No pigs.

5. Doug never burns the theatre down, though he does set fire to it twice before he's sent back to the closed ward.

6. Cherry attacks Doug twice, each time after he set fire to the place. The second time she used a switchblade. Later in the play he shows up with bandages on his face.

7. We learn from Doug that his pyromania is his way of dealing with an oppressive mother.

8. Nick is a communist sympathizer. Lucy is an unfaithful, free love activist. Henry is a loyal Australian who lashes out at Nick for being a communist.

9. Lucy and Lewis break up.

10. We never hear Zac play Wagner. Instead the play ends with Lewis giving a soliloquy about what happened to the characters after Cosi ended. Henry died soon after. Julie gets released and does die of an overdose (earlier in the scene she tells Lewis she has a jealous girlfriend). Zac left the asylum and formed a rock'n roll band. And the theatre finally burned down with Doug being the only suspect.

11. Doug does not sing at all.

12. Doug is barely seen after act 1, scene 3. He pops up briefly in act 2, scene 2, when Lucy shows up and tells Lewis she's been cheating on him with Nick. Then he shows up at the end of the play (act 2, scene 5) with some of the same lines he had in the movie.

13. Lewis isn't as influenced by Nick in the play as he is in the movie. In the play he's more independent. Nick doesn't seem to have any time for the patients and talks down to them from the get go, while in the movie he's more keen showing off as a director in the know.




"It's burning like a beauty. Someone get me a cat."

Performance Dates:

The play was performed at the Belvoir Street Theatre in Sydney From April 2, 1992 to April 28, 1992.


A Comedy that Glows in the Dark -
The Sydney Morning Herald, April 22, 1992
"There is David Wenham's Doug, a pyromaniac. Stabbing the air with lighted cigarettes, shedding lighted matches around him like so many golden scales, Wenham's Doug has the light of madness in his eye and in his starved, taut little body, right to the last spike of his ragged, carroty head; yet, through meticulous attention to detail, this actor creates a Doug that is wounded inside, human, proud and profoundly lost."

Three Hours Laughter from Comedy Master -
The Sun Herald, May 16, 1992
"David Wenham's pyromaniac, Doug, contributes to this young actor's list of eye-catching performances on local stages, while Celia Ireland, as the relentlessly forthright Cherry makes the most of the best of the women's roles."

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