Beautiful One Day
The versions of history and stories that make it off Palm Island are too often used to ends of justification – by political or governmental bodies – or victimisation – by media – and in a way the telling of these stories as part of the larger, multimedia construct of Palm on show this evening adds more strands still to the complex fabric of the island. Beautiful One Day offers a new, collaborative history and story; through the efforts of three thetare companies in Belvoir, Ilbijerri and version 1.0, a multifaceted map of Palms – honest, humoured, heartbroken and human – is presented on an island that shifts about the stage, designed by Ruby Langton-Batty. This production’s greatest strength is balance in creative approach, in the team and their methods. A history of Palm Island is presented, just as a history of the cast and creative process is presented. A family tree that spiders along the wall of the theatre, noting the notable and notorious, is balanced by the family trees and explored lineage of those on stage. While this balance occasionally slips – the production is too insular as it performs recreations of its own creation – for the most part, it ensures that a story that can too easily be whisked up in politics remains – ultimately – personal.
Equal parts lecture, re-enactment (the key players on Palm are divvied up and shared amongst the cast with Paul Dwyer and newcomer Harry Reuben as standouts) and yarn, Beautiful One Day is confronting and strangely comforting.
Belvoir until Sunday 23 December.
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