Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Review of Honey Spot

Posted by Tracy

(This is a review of a recent production John originally wrote for a newspaper but it didn't end up being used because it was filed at the end of the production's run.)

This warm play of reconciliation from 1985, written by Jack Davis for younger and older audiences, was energetically staged by the Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company (Perth) under Kyle J. Morrison’s direction.

Davis was able to treat serious themes without didacticism. In Honey Spot, a 12-year-old Wadjela (“whitefella”) girl and a 13-year-old Noongar boy find friendship and creative affirmation in W.A.’s south-west forests.

The play is adept at touching on all potential issues of appropriation and disrespect without ever compromising the integrity of Noongar culture.

Peggy (Katya Shevtsov), and Tim (Ian Wilkes), develop common expression through dance, combining European ballet moves with Noongar corroboree dance. They brought a liveliness and energy to their interaction that rippled through the audience.

Lynette Narkle as Mrs Winalli, Tim’s mother, was a guiding light, while Peggy’s father, the forest ranger, forced to confront his own racism, was ably depicted by George Shevtsov.

But the finest moments came with Phillip Walley-Stack’s turn as the resistant, confrontational William, Tim’s cousin, underscoring seriousness with humour and verve.

Tristen Parr’s music, using cello played by Emma McCoy and didgeridoo mainly from Walley-Stack, skilfully ranged from subtle to bold. Dance, music and drama merged with ease.

Fluid scene-changing through the actors moving in and out of the circular performance area was especially effective. Keeping it simple was key.

Davis’s plea for Wadjelas to engage in genuine listening conversation and respect for Noongar language and naming persists long after the show is over.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Activist Poetics

By Tracy

John's got a new book out: Activist Poetics: Anarchy in the Avon Valley.

It's a collection of his essays edited and with an introduction by Niall Lucy.

John Kerrigan on the back cover describes it as an "exhilarating constellation of interview, essay, polemic, lecture, memoir, apologia and verse".

The book is published by Liverpool University Press and you can read more about it here.