SECOND HARVEST FOR FARMER
PERFORMER Bec Bradley likens the remount of Spare Parts Puppet Theatre’s 2014 production The Farmer’s Daughter, which she code-vised, as like “putting on an old, comfortable coat”.
“It’s nice because you’ve already done the hard work to find the groove and it’s surprising how much the body remembers and how much of the story we continue to carry in our hearts,” Bradley said.
“It’s enjoyable to step back into it. We have one new cast member and three who were in the original, so there’s a familiarity and also a slight newness to keep us on our toes.”
The production celebrates the Australian spirit of life on the land and has an ongoing relevance to audiences, especially those in urban populations.
“It can be quite transporting because we don’t often have the chance to get the sense of a vast horizon or the incredible skies that you get out in the Wheatbelt,” Bradley said.
“It’s quite impactful.”
The Farmer’s Daughter follows the story of a young girl (the farmer’s daughter) who arrives to the new landscape with her parents, where together they dramatically transform the land from bushland to a farming environment.
“We learn about her experience through conversations she has with her grandfather over the CB radio,” she said.
“We learn about her experience of being a girl on the farm, which is primarily seen as ‘man’s work’, and her wanting to change that paradigm and claim her
place, her role and what part she has to play on the farm. Meanwhile, the family goes through a journey of dealing with all the things nature throws at them in famine, drought and fire.
“There are apocalyptic moments in there to some degree but it’s also about how we are resilient, and there is a lot of humour.”
Bradley, who plays the young girl’s mother and farmer’s wife, said the 50-minute production used object, shadow and body puppetry, along with a miniature scale of the farmhouse, water tank and windmill.
“I love that it’s an empowering story for women in a way and really questions their role and shows they can be leaders within the farming culture and agricultural sector,” she said.
“There’s a lot of heart in the work. You can really feel it in the script and how these people are so strongly connected to this landscape.”
Daisy Coyle as The Farmer’s Daughter with St John Cowcher as The Farmer and Bec Bradley as The Farmer’s Wife.