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The performance of the epic tale I Am Eora was at the Carriageworks’ Bay 17, on 13 Jan 2012 at 08:30pm. The performance will last for 80 minutes live on stage. The director of the scene is Wesley Enoch who got support from the co writer Anita Heiss. The stage set up of the film was enormous and was nothing close to the expectation of the audience.
The audience was massive, and the entertainers did not fail the audience. A band was the first to step on stage to entertain the audience before the onset of the epic pastiche.
Jack Charles radical young and Frank Yamma were next on stage. They all did exceptional work in entertaining the audience. All these performances reflected their pride of being part of the culture. However, the main theme was the performance of Eora, (Robinson, & Karantonis 2011 pp 54).
I Am Eora is an epic tale that means “I am of this place”. The tale tries to put into play the struggles of the Aboriginal community as they try to maintain their culture. This is despite the challenges they face as they lose their land to grabbers. They face hardships that include killing of people of their race, and adaption of outside cultures.
This is a tale of a community who despite all these challenges manage to preserve their culture and maintain an identity to themselves. This does not mean that they rejected new ideas and culture, but they managed to adapt to urban life and the multicultural society.
The director, Wesley Enoch, took the three legend stories of the Aboriginal people. The three legends include the famous warrior Pemulwuy, Barangaroo, considered as self sufficient mother, and her husband Bennelong. Bennelong considered the analyst and promoter of the portrayed as an interpreter and advocate for the resolution of the problems faced by the Aboriginal. Enoch uses narrative, songs, dances graphics and videos to unfold the events of the show, (Hannah 2007 pp 90).
Most of the show was a surprise because Enoch used techniques not expected by the audience. I was expecting the performance to done by less than ten people. However, it was a shock to see a cast comprising of more than fifty people. He amazed his audience; by the way, he used songs, dance and graphics to present this tale.
I was expecting a presentation filled with narration of the legendary stories of the characters. However, that was not the case. The first thing that he did against my expectation was the way he presented his cast. I was expecting the characters to come to stage their traditional attire.
I was expecting the Radical son to come to stage with a suit. However, the most shocking part was when Luke Currie-Richardson walks to the stage. He shocks many when he starts removing his clothing one by one. He stands naked in front of the crowd with nothing, but aboriginal drawings, (Kerwin, 2010 pp 123).
This was a show that portrayed that the dignity of the Aboriginal people does not come with the clothes they put on, but the values they cherish. This was also a sign of the ancient times. During the time when Pemulwuy was fighting, there were no modern clothes like suits and ties.
This is, therefore, a reminder and takes the audience back in time. The Radical son, a young boy, and Nooky play the role of Pemulwuy. The scene is breathtaking, and this is better by the vocal power of the radical son. He enacts his role with a lot of passion and connects with the audience well. The scene reminds me of the tales I heard about the legendary fighter who defended his people against the British invasion. The conversation between the three men makes the audience edgy and is full of suspense (Congreve & Marquardt, 2005 pp 67).
Nardi Simpson and Kaleena Briggs enact the role of Barangaroo. She appears on stage as a young pregnant woman. She is a responsible young woman who is fishing a long the river. Her appearance on stage changes the mood created by the three young men playing the role of Pemulwuy.
She brings in the feeling of warmth that has an association with mothers. She takes us back to the time when women are the sole providers for their families. Her role portrays a strong woman who will do anything for her people and most of all her children, (Kerwin, 2010 pp 65).
Jack Charles plays the role of Bennelong. His captivating nature suits his role perfectly. He takes the audience back in time. He takes us through his life and his effort to reconcile the people. He takes the audience through his life without a single problem. He puts the audience in a situation where they have to reconsider and think about reconciliation.
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He tried to make both parties appreciate their culture. He tried to make his people adapt the European dressing style and taught the Europeans the Aboriginal culture. The show ends with a song by Frank Yamma titled She Cried. All through the play there are background songs played. During the emergence, of Barangaroo, Stiff Gins’ sings joyously to make the scene warm and motherly. Stiff Gins’ also sings at the end of the show singing, Diamonds on the Water, (Clark, 2007 pp 104).
The director in his speech explains how he came up with the idea of enacting I am Eora. He says that the conversation was between him and Lindy Hume. He states that the conversation revolved around the Aboriginal people, their past and the influence they have on the city of Sydney.
The stories revolved around the legendary stories of the three heroes and heroines in the history of the Aboriginals. The tales moved from merely narratives to highly music-based tales (Kerwin, 2010 pp. 89). The first thing that formed the theme of the tale was the fact that the Aboriginal believe that the only thing that will never change is land.
He says, ‘I got the chance to be given an explanation on the value of land, and that it is the only constant thing on earth. This was a new explanation to me because the western cultures belief that time is the only thing that never changes.’ He wanted to make the people of Sidney proud of their culture and roots. He says, ‘I wondered how I could bridge the gap and make people proud of their culture and say they are proud to be Eoras’ (Kerwin, 2010 pp. 45).
The main theme of performance was to make the people appreciate their culture. Enoch achieved this by intertwining the roles of the legends in shaping the nation. The role of Pemulwuy urges the audience to fight for their rights and dignity. Bennelong, on the other hand, plays the role of teaching the people the importance of appreciating other people’s culture. He emphasizes on the importance of integrating new ideas into the society, but having the notion that one should not forget his own roots.
List of References
Clark, M. 2007. Mudrooroo: a likely story: identity and belonging in postcolonial Australia. Sydney: Peter Lang.
Congreve, B. & Marquardt, M. 2005. The Year’s Best Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy. Sydney: Wildside Press LLC.
Hannah, M. 2007. Transgressions: critical Australian indigenous histories.Issue 16 of Aboriginal History Monograph Series. London: ANUE Press.
Kerwin, D. 2010.Aboriginal Dreaming Paths and Trading Routes: The Colonization of the Australian Economic Landscape. First Nations and the colonial encounter. Princeton: Sussex Academic Press.
Kerwin, D. 2010.Annual register. California: University of California.
Robinson, D. & Karantonis, P. 2011. Opera Indigene: Re/Presenting First Nations and Indigenous Cultures. Ashgate interdisciplinary studies in opera. Sydney: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.