Indigenous playwright Nakkiah Lui's contemporary mash up of 'Meet The Fockers' and 'Guess Who's Coming To Dinner' is set to premiere in Perth this September and cast member, Luke Carroll couldn't be more excited.
“We've all become a big family and we toured the show last year and we had so much fun on the road and I think we're gonna have just as much fun this year touring it to Perth, Melbourne, and Adelaide.”
The play centres around an Indigenous family meeting their daughter's white fiance for the first time over Christmas dinner, resulting in a hilarious, but heartfelt look at interracial relationships in Australia.
As the play progresses, the boy's conservative parents arrive and it is revealed that both fathers are former political rivals.
“It's a hilarious take on Christmas dinner, you know, different families that sort of lock their heads against each other, and essentially come together. Love conquers all so to speak, and they form a truce and live happily ever after,” Luke laughs.
Image © Prudence Upton
But it's not all fun and games, this is a serious piece of contemporary Indigenous theatre, and while it has a lighthearted tone, the play brings up concepts such as native titles and white entitlement.
In the creative process, Director Paige Rattray utilised a form of Stanislavski's active analysis, where actors use improvisation of small sections of a scene to better understand each other's characters. Luke points out that this process raised some topics for the non-Indigenous actors to explore.
“It was interesting and there was a lot of questions once we finished, a lot of the non-Indigenous actors really questioned and didn't really know much about Aboriginal history. We sort of taught them in greater detail about the issues within the story itself and it was a great learning experience for the non-Indigenous actors and they've become like family to us now, we're walking together in this journey of telling this great story.”
Image © Prudence Upton
“It's a joy to come to work and to be able to change people's perspectives, I think theatre is a great educational tool, so yeah, to be able to walk out and perform and get that live feedback, there's nothing like it.”
Contemporary Indigenous theatre has become an important feature of social commentary in Australia, allowing playwrights to express their frustrations with the world around them and work alongside other Indigenous Australians in an independent atmosphere.
“To have a presence not only on stage as actors, but to have our Indigenous playwrights writing some quality work is extremely important for all audiences to come and see. It's an insight into what we're thinking and what we're trying to achieve. We're breaking down the barriers, and trying to have a presence on stage, and not only on stage as actors but behind the scenes.”
'Black Is The New White' plays State Theatre Centre Of WA's Heath Ledger Theatre from 11-22 September, before heading to Melbourne in October and Adelaide in November.