A powerful new work exploring the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and its impact on family, Ochre Contemporary Dance Company presents Mark Howett’s Good Little Soldier at the Subiaco Arts Centre from 9 July 2017.
In 2016, Artistic Director Mark Howett’s first work for Ochre Contemporary Dance Company, Kaya thrilled local audiences with its dramatic portrayal of cultural clash and collaborations, now in 2017, he is bringing his dynamic Berlin production of Good Little Soldier home to Perth for his second show with the Company.
Water drips, milk burns, a wall becomes a landscape. Daily life and trauma merge into part hallucination, part violent reality, part trench humour. The conflict comes home and the hypervigilance of soldiers, life-saving in war, shatters nerves in civilian life.
A robust dance theatre work that is physically breathtaking, emotionally engaging and presented by world class performers, Good Little Soldier explores how PTSD affects the families of those afflicted. For Howett, the son of a veteran, this is a deeply personal story.
“In creating Good Little Soldier my aim was to develop a physical dance based on my personal experiences of growing up as the son of a war-damaged soldier,” says Howett. “I wished to investigate veterans’ families common experiences and how it affects and infects the families of those afflicted with the burden of PTSD.”
Howett brings a decade of making theatre and dance in Europe to create a collaborative work of powerful physical theatre, attracting a team of extraordinary artists to the production including renowned international dance makers Gavin Webber and Grayson Millwood, who reprise their Belin roles of a damaged soldier and the ghost he has brought home from the front. Co3’s Artistic Director Raewyn Hill makes a long-awaited return to performance as the tortured wife and mother, alongside Co:Youth Ensemble dancer Otto Kosok as her son.
Bringing the work home to country allows an investigation of indigenous perspectives on intergenerational PTSD after 200 years of trauma. Brilliant Nyoongar performer Ian Wilkes plays a second ghost, a black digger, that has come home from war. The team is completed by the Perth-based musicians Dale Couper, Matthew de la Hunty, Laurie Sinagra (who create a live ‘industrial’ band) and the dramaturg of the Berlin show, Phil Thomson.
Set in an Australian suburban home the work portrays a returned soldier struggling to return to normal family life. He has brought ghosts home from the war that only he sees. They push him into paranoid behaviour, encouraging the subjugation of his wife and son. The family explodes under the pressure.
Concept and Direction: Mark Howett Choreography & Performance: Grayson Millwood, Gavin Webber, Raewyn Hill, Otto Kosok, Ian Wilkes Dramaturgy: Phil Thomson Design: Bryan Woltjen Music: Dale Couper, Matthew de la Hunty, Laurie Sinagra Associate Lighting Designer & Production Manager: Chloe Ogilvie
Good Little Soldier
Subiaco Arts Centre, 180 Hamersley Rd, Subiaco (Perth)
Season: 9 – 30 July 2017
For more information, visit: www.ochredance.org for details.
Image: Good Little Soldier – courtesy of Ochre Contemporary Dance Company