Home Country – A Feast Not To Be Missed
Blacktown is not a place often referenced when it comes to theatre. Better know in the last few days for a flesh-eating bacteria found at the local hospital than the creation of memorable theatrical works, it’s a suburb better known for hatred, racism and violence. Western Sydney isn’t often seen as place for theatre to thrive. And yet it is a hive of activity, creative passion and skill. Unfortunately not enough people cross the Bridge to see a show here and I’ve often heard in conversation when discussing fantastic inner west shows, … ‘Is it coming to The Opera House?’
How limited a vision and what a sad thought to have.
Urban Theatre Projects has 30 years of story telling under its belt. And it shows! Blacktown Councils artistic endeavours have earned them a reputation for being not only culturally embracing but creatively reflective of the artistic changes in the area and needs of its patrons.
Home Country is a series of short vignettes that explore what it means to belong. Written by Andrea James, Peter Polites, Gaele Sobott, Nancy Denis, Danny Elacci and Rosie Dennis and skilfully woven together by Director Rosie Dennis, the show takes us on a journey of culture, understanding and change. What does it mean to belong? Can one person really understand another’s life, culture and heritage? Are we as people still prone to making assumptions about family and tradition?
This venture in itself is a massive undertaking. This site specific work utilises Colo Car Park in the centre of Blacktown and as audience members move from level to level they become observers of the everyday. Sometimes eavesdroppers in conversation, other times deliberately encouraged to participate through the melodious musings of singer/rapper Kween G, musician Mahmmud Lelo and internationally renowned percussionist and soloist James Tawadros. It’s a three and a half hour cultural adventure worth the taking.
Uncle Cheeky, beautifully played by Billy McPherson begins with a reflection of his own home and its importance. Performers Nancy Dennis and Danny Elacci are believable and charismatic in their roles as co workers Zaphora and Ali, who finally talk their way through the sticky mess that is culturural profiling and perspective. Many giggles were heard as Elacci’s character wound himself impossibly around the stereotypical musings of the semi-educated who insult without a second thought- yet truly see themselves as ‘forward thinking.’ It is a scene often experienced and not often discussed.
Fausto Brusamolino expertly utilises the space with his lighting design. This is a massive undertaking. Sound design by James brown keeps the flow from place to place and gently embraces the audience in the seperate worlds presented.
The show has so many dimensions that you really can’t do it justice; a meal is served inviting conversation and connection, dishes are shared communally, bread is broken, stories are told, audio monologues are manipulated, live music plays and people are encouraged at every stage to connect, share, learn and grow. It’s an invitation to break down of the barriers created everyday through misinformation, fear and lack of education.
Cross the Bridge people… It’s an experience worthy of an audience.
Where: Colo Lane Car Park Blacktown
Dates: 13th to 22nd January
Lee Anderson – Theatre Now & Talking Arts