3 Sep

Is theatre a mirror,  reflecting our world as it is?

Or is it a window,  showing us a view of a world close by?

Or is it a telescope, revealing distant worlds?

Sugarland presents the lives of young people in a remote Australian town. It’s honest, confronting and hopeful.

Photo by by Tracey Schramm

Photo by by Tracey Schramm

Writers Rachael Coopes and Wayne Blair built this story after time spent in the Top End. Directors Fraser Corfield and David Page present it with great power and beauty.  Their ensemble is extraordinary, young and genuine. Dubs Yunupingu is brilliant. Her portrayal of Nina – of simple strength in the face of adversity – is deeply moving.

The youth of Katherine face a range of challenges; poverty, substance abuse, self harm, violence, and the spectre of racism. (One of the charms of the piece is, that for the most part, the characters see through the divisive aspects of race.)

Nina lives in a one bedroom house with twelve people. She has twenty stitches in the back of her head, courtesy of a female relative who’s thrown a brick at her.

Hunter Page-Lochard plays Jimmy, Nina’s cousin. He gives a powerful performance of a bright soul bustled by what the world has thrown at him.

Writer Rachael Coopes plays youth worker Penny. She encapsulates a patient, and inspiring, determination not to give into despair.

Of course, Sugarland is not ‘telescope’ theatre. These communities are our communities. (There’s a dreadful poignancy in the fact that the young people of the town are soaked in pop culture. Nina sings Rihanna’s Diamonds at the talent quest.)

This is a play to give confidence. There are things in our world to be fixed. But this play presents the challenges with heart-breaking honesty.

And honesty is a good midwife to hope.

Veronica Kaye


Sugarland by Rachael Coopes with Wayne Blair

ATYP Under the Wharf

til 13 Sept

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