Emo­tional cost ex­plored

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Weekly Life - Su­bi­aco Arts Cen­tre July 9 to 30 www.tick­etek.com.au

AS the son of a re­turned vet­eran from Viet­nam, Ochre Con­tem­po­rary Dance Com­pany artis­tic di­rec­tor Mark Howett has ex­pe­ri­enced post­trau­matic stress dis­or­der close up.

“I look at

PTSD like you live Good Lit­tle Soldier with their ter­ri­ble ill­ness they bring home and you get in­fected by it as well,” Howett said.

“We talk about the eco­nomic con­se­quences of war, the diplo­matic and strate­gic ones, but we don’t of­ten talk about the so­cial costs of war and how much load a fam­ily car­ries when these vet­er­ans come home.

“I think I was just as in­ti­mate with my dad’s PTSD as he was be­cause he would talk about it; I was pretty aware of my fa­ther’s ghosts.”

Howett was com­pelled to make dance the­atre work Good Lit­tle Soldier, which pre­miered in Ber­lin in 2013, while he was liv­ing in Ger­many.

Now based in Perth, the artis­tic di­rec­tor is re­mount­ing the work with orig­i­nal col­lab­o­ra­tors Gavin Web­ber and Grayson Mill­wood of con­tem­po­rary dance com­pany The Farm, Co3 artis­tic di­rec­tor Raewyn Hill (who returns to the stage for the first time in 10 years) and Noon­gar per­former Ian Wilkes.

Wilkes, as a sec­ond ghost brought home from war and new ad­di­tion to the pro­duc­tion, acts as a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of Noon­gar sol­diers who have fought for Aus­tralia.

“It’s an in­ves­ti­ga­tion of PTSD,” Howett said.

“We go into their head and look at what hap­pens to a per­son when hav­ing a PTSD episode, when they’re con­stantly re­call­ing an event which to them is in­cred­i­bly real.

“We made it in the very Ger­man tra­di­tion of dra­maturgy. It’s mixed genre with the­atre tech­niques and phys­i­cal dance tech­niques and any­thing that will help us get closer to our vi­sion of it.”

Howett said he hoped Good Lit­tle Soldier gave au­di­ences a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the plight of an Aus­tralian fam­ily deal­ing with a vet­eran in their sub­ur­ban home.

“We should cel­e­brate the in­no­cents who get caught up in war and have no say in it hap­pen­ing,” he said.

“We tend to hon­our the soldier but not the in­no­cents as much; the wife and a child of an ill soldier who comes home and has nowhere else to dis­place the anger or trauma they suf­fered in com­bat.”

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d470764

WHAT: WHERE: WHEN: TICK­ETS: Artis­tic di­rec­tor Mark Howett in the back­ground with per­form­ers Ian Wilkes, Otto Kosok and Grayson Mill­wood.

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