You've chosen to stage two shows, both about pertinent contemporary social issues (Australia's Refugee Policy and Homelessness). What struck you about these issues that drove you to bring them to the stage?
The plays paint the big picture through intimate, individual story lines, based on research, fieldwork and facts. By fuelling awareness about the plight and rights of refugees in REFUGE, and about the alarming rise of homeless people in our first world society in HOME, we hope to inject a strong impulse for action and system change. Theatre, and especially live theatre, can speak directly and simultaneously to heart and intellect. It brings people together and can be a powerful place for reflection, dialogue and change. A place for concerned citizens and human rights advocates to recharge their batteries!
How do you hope audiences respond to the shows?
The ‘Let Them Stay’ campaign has shown that many Australians are ready for change in Australia’s Refugee Policies. Similarly, as people start to wake up to the fact that capitalism causes the gap between rich and poor to widen, creating more and more unfair disadvantage and pushing many young people into a downward spiral, perhaps we can do something about that together… Using the power of theatre as an engaging creative tool, the Company hopes to keep the momentum going for both issues.
Theatre is a form of cultural activism. The art of drama, poetry, music, dance, visual imagery resonates on a deep level. While being entertained, amused, moved, informed, a process of subtle education is taking place. A recognition, an empathy, a sense of growing awareness may be the result. After their immersion in the reality of asylum seekers in REFUGE and of the homeless in HOME, we hope our audience will be inspired to look at refugees and homeless people with a more open mind, an informed mind that is now a little more able to join the dots about how Australia treats these people. Perhaps that will result in people taking action.
What have you learnt during the process of creating the shows?
When the actors start creating their characters, an amazing process of study and integration begins. They have to learn so much about cultural and societal aspects, about the historical and political backgrounds, and bring all that knowledge to bear in their physicalisation, their voices, their artistry, into the mind-heart space of the roles they play. It is a process of connecting deeply with our shared humanity.
What do you think is the overarching message communicated in each of the productions?
We are all just people. And we are more alike than we are different. And every moment is an opportunity to discover something, to grow, to wake up, to change, to reach out, to celebrate our shared humanity.
For more details about the show and booking information, check out the Kinetic Energy website.