Blackie Blackie Brown

An Indige­nous avenger storms the STC stage

Time Out (Sydney) - - INSIDE - By Ben Neutze


Wild­ing’s de­but at the Syd­ney Theatre Com­pany is un­likely to re­sem­ble any other. The young Gami­laroi woman, who last year had a scene-steal­ing turn in Belvoir’s pro­duc­tion of The

Rover, will play Dr Jac­que­line Black in Nakkiah Lui’s new play

Blackie Blackie Brown. “I’ve been com­ing to STC shows since I was 15 and just go­ing ‘oh, one day, I wish,’” she says. “To have my de­but in this show – I couldn’t have asked for any­thing bet­ter. It’s right up my al­ley and it’s so shock­ing.” Jac­que­line is a book­ish, shy arche­ol­o­gist whose world is changed when she finds a mass grave in the Aus­tralian bush. She soon meets her longdead great-great grand­mother, whose mys­ti­cal pow­ers trans­form Jac­que­line into an Abo­rig­i­nal su­per­hero named Blackie Blackie Brown. She’s set on a path to slaugh­ter ev­ery de­scen­dant of the men who killed her an­ces­tors.

It’s set to be a blood-splat­tered re­venge com­edy in the vein of Kill

Bill and blax­ploita­tion flicks of the 1970s, us­ing colour­ful an­i­ma­tions and vis­ual ef­fects to en­hance the ac­tion. Only two ac­tors ap­pear on­stage: Wild­ing and queer theatre star Ash Flan­ders, who will trans­form from char­ac­ter to char­ac­ter to play ev­ery one of Blackie Blackie Brown’s vic­tims. “There’s mo­ments in the script that need an­i­ma­tion be­cause it’s not hu­manly pos­si­ble to do, which is just so ex­cit­ing,” Wild­ing says.

But the play also ex­plores the value of le­gacy and cul­ture, and the char­ac­ter is very close to the ac­tor’s heart. “I think with­out know­ing my an­ces­try I wouldn’t have as much con­fi­dence. That’s a lovely thing that comes out of

Blackie Blackie Brown – there’s this con­nec­tion with her grand­mother that gives her the per­mis­sion to be badass. I do cen­sor my­self at times and kind of shy away, but it is nice know­ing that I’ve got that in­ner fire.” Wild­ing had to find that fear­less­ness within her­self to pur­sue a ca­reer as an ac­tor, which she says of­ten seemed like an im­pos­si­ble dream when she was grow­ing up in Guild­ford in Syd­ney’s west. “I didn’t see my­self on an STC stage ten years ago, and I don’t see my­self on TV or any­thing. So it felt like I was be­ing delu­sional. And then my dad passed away, and I don’t know what hap­pened but I knew I had to try.”

Since grad­u­at­ing from the West­ern Aus­tralian Academy of Per­form­ing Arts in 2015, Wild­ing has made waves in Syd­ney Theatre and last year won the Bal­naves Foun­da­tion Indige­nous Play­wright’s Award for her as-yet un­ti­tled play that will be pro­duced at Belvoir. She also has as­pi­ra­tions to di­rect theatre and ul­ti­mately wants to lead a com­pany. “I don’t think I’ll ever stop dab­bling. Who knows? – I might re­lease an al­bum of jazz pi­ano.”

But most sig­nif­i­cantly, she’s now work­ing in the same theatri­cal spa­ces as the Indige­nous women who are her among her big­gest in­spi­ra­tions. She cites artists such as Rachael Maza, Leah Pur­cell, Shari Sebbens, Mi­randa Tapsell, Ur­sula Yovich, Elaine Crom­bie and Nakkiah Lui. “We all have some­thing pow­er­ful in our blood, and I think it’s so mag­i­cal we’re all al­lowed to be in the same in­dus­try right now.” àWharf The­atres, Pier 4/5 Hick­son Rd, Walsh Bay 2000. 02 9250 1777. www.syd­neythe­ $39-$68. May 12-Jun 30.

“It’s right up my al­ley and it’s so shock­ing”

Me­gan Wild­ing

An­i­ma­tion im­agery from Black­ieBlack­ieBrown

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