Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - TANYA MACNAUGHTON

YIRRA Yaakin Theatre Com­pany will com­plete its trio of Kaatijin plays with the 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 cre­ation 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 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 45-minute play is also ed­u­ca­tional.

“Kids will learn an­i­mal facts, where they live or char­ac­ter­is­tics, and a bit about the an­cient Noon­gar sto­ries,” Smith said.

“Whether you want to be­lieve them or not isn’t the point; it’s just to en­joy it, take it away and think about it.

“So if you go to Wave Rock, you’ll re­mem­ber the story of how it was made or the story about the echidna and how the big blob of jelly fell into a prickle bush and got its spikes.

“It’s ed­u­ca­tional and also en­ter­tain­ment be­cause we just want them to laugh; life is pretty crazy and school can be hard and bor­ing, so it’s nice to have en­ter­tain­ment.

“That’s what art is there for; you’ve got to have a laugh ev­ery now and then.”

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie d460852

Amy Smith flies the flag for Yirra Yaakin Theatre Com­pany.

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