Friday, July 8, 2011
Bully Beef Stew
BULLY BEEF STEW commissioned by PACT centre for emerging artists at the Pact Theatre, Erskineville, Sydney.
The director Andrea James: “I (was) invited by Pact centre for emerging artists to work with a small group of very good looking and highly talented Aboriginal men: Sonny Dallas Law, Colin Kinchella, and Bjorn Stewart. As young 'uninitiated men' they have reflected on their relationships with their fathers and other Aboriginal men in their lives. They have done this without romanticising what it is to be an Aboriginal man today, nor have they gone down the 'poor fulla me' path. They have simply created a show that comes to you straight from their hearts; and the results are poetic, raw and touching.”
Poetic. Raw. Touching.
Beginning amusingly with a wryly funny dance piece, and after assuring us that BULLY BEEF STEW is not a variety show, but a play, these men take us through a series of intelligent vignettes covering many forms of performance forms : song, dance, art installation, spoken text.
What is very exciting and ultimately moving is the determined integrity of this work. It never patronises the audience or themselves. The integrity of all the artists in the preparation and execution of their preoccupations is intelligently and beautifully supported with Choreography by Kirk Page; Media Art by Jacqui Mills; Sound Design by Melissa Hunt and atmospheric lighting by Clytie Smith. The use of the space imaginative and searching. The work feels truly of our time, contemporay and deeply honest and has a kind of cultural honesty that appears fearless and personally confronting and generous. Truly, using the vernacular, 'deadly'.
Because of work commitments I have come to this work on almost the last performance, I sincerely recommend this production to you, if you can gte there. It is, for me, a kind of benchmark for the maturing of performance expression by our Indigenous artists.
Modest but powerful. The final five or ten minutes deeply, beautiful and immensely, immensely moving.
Do go and again congratulations to Ms James and the performers: Sonny Dallas Law, Colin Kinchella and Bjorn Stewart. Congratulations to the PACT organisers for the commission. Courage and great vision.