Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - WORK PLACE - Tanya MacNaughton

YIRRA Yaakin Theatre Com­pany will com­plete its trio of Kaati­jin plays with third in­stal­ment Bood­jar Kaati­jin at Su­bi­aco Arts Cen­tre from Oc­to­ber 27 to Novem­ber 5.

The se­ries be­gan in 2012 with Kaarla Kaati­jin (mean­ing ‘to un­der­stand fire’ in Noongar) fol­lowed by Kep Kaati­jin in 2014 (‘to un­der­stand wa­ter’) and now Bood­jar Kaati­jin (‘to un­der­stand land’).

Perth ac­tor Amy Smith first per­formed with the com­pany 12 years ago and the WAAPA-trained mother of two has fea­tured in each Kaati­jin pro­duc­tion along­side Ian Wilkes, who has tran­si­tioned to writer and di­rec­tor for the third.

“I un­der­stand the type of play it is, how much phys­i­cal­ity there is and how silly it is with fart jokes,” Smith said.

“I love Ian, he’s like my brother, so him di­rect­ing is sweet and the fact that my kids are a bit older (four and six years) makes it eas­ier to get back into work.”

The play brings to life sto­ries col­lected from Noongar El­ders, in­clud­ing the first sun­rise, the cre­ation of Kings Park, how the kan­ga­roo got its colour, how the echidna got its spikes and the cre- ation of Wave Rock.

Smith said it in­cor­po­rated mu­sic, sound ef­fects, slap­stick, pup­petry, masks and glow-in-the-dark el­e­ments.

“It’s about the be­gin­ning of Earth, so it starts off in the dark­ness and then we use a bit of lighting and bring up the other sto­ries,” the 29-year-old said.

“This kind of theatre doesn’t see us put on a whole mas­sive cos­tume; we’ll just get one ob­ject and turn it into the an­i­mal. It’s sort of like ob­ject theatre.

“One of the char­ac­ters I play is a pos­sum and she just has these gog­gles, which give her big pos­sum eyes, and then it’s up to me to em­body that an­i­mal and make it come alive. “I also play a spi­der.” Smith said the pro­duc­tion was best suited to chil­dren from kindy to Year 4 but adults were sure to have a laugh too.

Even though the cast hu­man­ise the an­i­mals with funny voices and char­ac­ter­is­tics, the 45minute play is also ed­u­ca­tional.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie

Amy Smith has per­formed in all Yirra Yaakin’s Kaati­jin plays. d460852

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