Adelaide Festival. Marrugeku. Dunstan Playhouse. 10 March 2023
Telling it like it is means knowing where the whole bad shit thing starts from.
The opening solo phrase of Jurrungu Ngan-ga [Straight Talk] establishes, with authoritative ease, an unperturbed and peaceful existence of indigenous human life, free expression and health.
The stage is bare and there is minimal lighting. The free run of spirit in a body writhing and vibrating at one with its environment is buoyed on through Sam Serruys, Paul Charlier and Rhyan Clapham - aka DOBBY’s tautly focused electronic score.
On this foundational phrase, Choreographer Dalisa Pigram and Director Rachael Swain form an entire history of cruel subjugation; of indigenous Australians and refugees both incarcerated and dying in custody.
Each phrase of the production is - one after another - of surveillance, capture, subjugation and punishment right throughout history.
None of this is imaginary.
Costumed in the thread and colour of the refugee by Andrew Treloar and framed subtly by Abdul-Rahman Abdullah’s jail-wall set with indigenous Australia, past and present, mediated through video projection, it is real history distilled through powerful expression of body in motion.
Dancers present with back to the audience, and we see faces on the screen, we see real, in time observation of harassment.
Innocent, it is not.
The overlay of colonial anachronisms - such as on pointe dance, sans pointe shoes – and the magnificent set of chandeliers descending, along with a break into theatre and confronting dialogue seal the heart felt goal of this work.
We’ve been told straight what the deal is.
When: 10 to 12 March
Where: Dunstan Playhouse