Stirling Times - - Lifestyle - Tanya MacNaughton

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.”

Pic­ture: Jon Hew­son­mu­ni­ d483987

Daisy Coyle as The Farmer’s Daugh­ter with St John Cowcher as The Farmer and Bec Bradley as The Farmer’s Wife.

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