A road-trip love story that takes us through Australia’s heartland, dealing with love, loss, unspoken truths and history, ILBIJERRI Theatre Company presents Heart Is a Wasteland by John Harvey at the 2021 Darwin Festival.
Raye, a struggling country music star in the making, plays pub to pub along Australia’s vast desert highways, flogging demo CDs in the hope of returning home to her son Elvis. But when she meets Dan, another broken wanderer, a love affair unfurls over their four-day drive home to Alice Springs.
Originally conceived and performed in a sell-out season by Malthouse Theatre and Brown Cabs, Heart Is a Wasteland combines First Peoples’ storytelling with live music, in a whisky-fueled battle of egos. It cuts to the country’s heart, recognising everyone’s individual right to love.
ILBIJERRI Theatre Company’s re-staging of Heart is a Wasteland is a brand new production – in both vision and scale – featuring freshly conceived sets, musical arrangements by Gary Watling and adventurous audio-visual design; all reimagined under the direction of ILBIJERRI’s own Artistic Director Rachael Maza, to match the energy of its new young leads.
Heart is a Wasteland is an uplifting, dynamic, hybrid work of First Nations music and story-telling. It is a work that is universal in its humanity, but complex in its Indigeneity. It is at once both relatable and un-relatable to a broad Australian audience, and therein lies its sophistication. Much like its ending, it is unresolved yet satisfying. It leaves the audience pensive and wanting more.
Director: Rachael Maza | Featuring: Monica Jasmine Karo, Dion Williams, Gary Watling | Musical Director & Arrangements: Gary Watling | Songwriter: Lydia Fairhall | Sound Designer: James Henry | Set & Costume Design: Emily Barrie | Lighting Design: Niklas Pajanti | AV Design: Sean Bacon | Production Manager: Nick Glen | Dramaturg: Mark Pritchard | Stage Manager: Jess Keepence
Heart Is a Wasteland
Browns Mart Theatre, Cornrr Smith Street & Harry Chan Avenue, Darwin
Performances: 13 – 15 August 2021
Following the Darwin season, Heart Is a Wasteland will be presented (subject to lockdowns) at the Alexander Theatre, Monash University (24 – 25 August); Cremorne Theatre – QPAC, Brisbane (15 – 18 September); Bunjil Place Theatre, Narre Warren (23 September). For more information, visit: www.ilbijerri.com.au for details.
Image: Monica Jasmine Karo and Dion Williams – photo by Aaron Walker