Good oil for youth

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Stage - Tanya Mac­naughton

INSITE Arts is com­mit­ted to com­mis­sion­ing works for young au­di­ences by both Abo­rig­i­nal and non- Abo­rig­i­nal artists cen­tred around the Abo­rig­i­nal story and iden­tity.

Ade­laide-based direc­tor Ja­son Cross said Saltbush, a con­tem­po­rary piece of dance theatre for young au­di­ences and their fam­i­lies ex­plor­ing the Abo­rig­i­nal story, was part of that com­mit­ment.

“It was made in col­lab­o­ra­tion with an Ital­ian com­pany called TPO which is ded­i­cated to cre­at­ing works for young au­di­ences, work­ing with pro­jected im­age and sen­sory tech­nol­ogy like the Kinect tech­nol­ogy Sony used for Xbox,” Cross said.

“Some of that tech­nol­ogy has been used in Saltbush, where 40 dif­fer­ent oil paint­ings by artist Del­wyn Man­nix formed a sto­ry­board or treat­ment for the show. TPO in Europe took them and helped cre­ate a nar­ra­tive.”

The cast of three per­form­ers work closely with a tech­ni­cian whose role is much like a con­duc­tor, mix­ing and match­ing the live and recorded tech­nol­ogy with in­for­ma­tion picked up by the sen­sors on stage.

Cross said the interactivity be­tween per­former and tech­ni­cian con­stantly changed, like­wise for the chil­dren in the au­di­ence who were en­cour­aged to in­ter­act.

“It in­vites young peo­ple to par­tic­i­pate in the work, just like Xbox did with Kinect and with gam­ing; it seeks that par­tic­i­pa­tion by young peo­ple to take own­er­ship of the space,” he said.

The pro­duc­tion fol­lows a jour­ney of two friends from dif­fer­ent Abo­rig­i­nal back­grounds as they travel across Aus­tralia on foot.

Cross said it was in­spired by the im­pos­si­ble no­tion of a young per­son be­ing able to walk through 30 dif­fer­ent Abo­rig­i­nal coun­tries 200 to 300 years ago.

“Not just be­cause of the land­scape but you need to speak all the di­alects and know all the rit­u­als to get through those coun­tries; it would be quite the chal­lenge,” he said.

Saltbush is pre­sented at Stu­dio Un­der­ground by Bark­ing Gecko Theatre Com­pany and is recommended for ages four years and older.

Saltbush uses a series of oil paint­ings.

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