Challenging views of media
McNeill’s time as a foreign correspondent.
The work has origins in Perth Theatre Company’s 2013 OperationZebra, which ran in a 20minute loop and was viewable from the street through shop windows.
Now the piece has been expanded to include a narrative with two core stories and stars original performer Mikala Westall and performer/singer Mei Saraswati.
“It’s about the young women, in their own world, who have their own hopes and dreams,” Saraswati said. “It’s really interesting that Mel decided to make a piece with these stories.
“I love when someone feels and cares so strongly about something that’s happened on the other side of the world.
“I think it has a lot of heart and shows she has a lot of heart. It’s what art should aim to be.”
Westall said the work was not a traditional piece of theatre and loved its divisive and challenging nature.
“If I was an audience member I would definitely leave the show assessing the way that I view the media,” Westall said. “And that’s not just being aware of how the media presents things, but also how you sit and watch it.
“How you can change a channel at any moment and watch things in little grabs.”
Westall said FromtheRubble delved deep to cut through our growing nonchalance to disturbing news stories.
“It’s like every time you read a story, it has to keep getting bigger and bigger to grab your attention,” she said.
“Whereas in theatre, the stories we’re telling are horrible and horrific but they’re also personal and human, and about what happens to a family – how does this person feel about this and how would you feel about this – so it’s more profound.”
The From the Rubble team also includes Iranian Australian performer Tina Torabi, PTC writer-in-residence and assistant director Ian Sinclair, composer Joe Lui and audio visual designer Mia Holton.
“It’s got to the point a few times where we’ve thought that it’s such a huge subject, do we have a right to talk about it?” Westall said.
“We can’t tell everything, but what we do talk about we do well, and hopefully people will respond to that.”
Mikala Westall and Mei Saraswati star in From the Rubble.