Remaining a vital masterwork 20 years after it was penned by Wesley Enoch and Deborah Mailman, The 7 Stages of Grieving is a wise and powerful play about the grief of Aboriginal people and the hope of reconciliation.
“It is hard to believe that it was 20 years ago that Deborah and I created this show,” says Wesley Enoch. “We had wanted to work together for a few years and when my grandmother died and my family went into mourning, both of us thought this was significant.”
In an environment where Indigenous Australians battle racism, deaths in custody, a history of violence and the anguish of land, The 7 Stages of Grieving is a strong reminder of Indigenous peoples’ will to survive, sense of humour and irony, and reinforces the traditional role of Indigenous Australians as storytellers.
The 7 Stages of Grieving is a wise and powerful play about the grief of Aboriginal people and the hope of reconciliation. In this one-everywoman show, Chenoa Deemal (Mother Courage and Her Children) spins poignant stories of different people from different mobs – tear-streaked tales of tragedy go hand-in-hand with jubilant celebrations of simple survival.
“Watching that hit such an emotional chord, it stayed with me for years,” says actor Chenoa Deemal. “Seeing a visual representation of a beautiful and established culture suddenly wiped clear with the stroke of a hand was emotionally jarring and brought to my attention how powerful theatre can be.”
Funny, devastatingly sad, politically relevant and culturally profound as it traverses the phases of Aboriginal history, The 7 Stages of Grieving is an invitation to face hard truths, to join hands and grieve. It shares true and personal stories that need to keep being told. And perhaps most importantly, it opens a dialogue about the issues that separate and unite Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.
Director: Jason Klarwein Featuring: Chenoa Deemal Designer: Jessica Ross Lighting Designer: Daniel Anderson Sound Designer: Justin Harrison
The 7 Stages of Grieving
Lennox Theatre – Riverside Theatres, Corner Church and Market Streets, Parramatta
Season continues to 10 June 2017
Information and Bookings: www.riversideparramatta.com.au
The Art House, Margaret Street, Wyong
Season: 13 – 14 June 2017
Information and Bookings: www.thearthousewyong.com.au
Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, 597 High Street, Penrith
Season: 16 – 17 June 2017
Information and Bookings: www.thejoan.com.au
A Queensland Theatre and Grin and Tonic Theatre Troupe production
Image: Chenoa Deemal in The 7 Stages of Grieving – courtesy of Queensland Theatre