Famous throughout the nation… WA’s brilliant blackfella/whitefella comic drama about the killing times and the present times.
Bindjareb Pinjarra explores the black & white history of the Pinjarra Massacre of 1834. The play mixes the cast’s personal stories (what they were taught at school, for instance) with hilarious re-enactments of historical events and the modern tale of Roland Mission, a young Noongar man discovering his connection to that history. Roland, a fledgling rap artist, continually attracts trouble just because of the colour of his skin – demonstrating that the prejudices of the past are unfortunately still with us.
After traveling from railway station to Centrelink office, jail cell to the highway, we come to the banks of the Murray River in Pinjarra where the full story of the dreadful incident is played out. After the sadness the cast share a simple healing ritual with the audience, and then engage in a comprehensive Q & A to clarify the history and ensure that audience leave with more understanding and a smile in their hearts.
The work continually breaks the fourth wall, with audience members able to suggest content and styles for scenes (like in Theatresports), share their own knowledge and become part of the action. The cast adapt each performance for the found audience, allowing for child-friendly or spiky teenage versions as required, and short and long forms.
Form and Style
The show is presented simply and clearly from any stage, in a combination of Indigenous and non-indigenous voices. The touring party can rig and bump-out quickly themselves, although help is always appreciated.
This is a classical Open Space style production – played in front of a hung backdrop (a beautiful painting by Lance Chadd) with two benches and a few wooden props. This simple staging, and the improvised nature of much of the show, allows for a flexible production. It has been staged in a variety of theatre setups (proscenium, thrust, box), in halls, schools, prisons and isolated communities, indoors and outdoors.
The show has no written script. It is improvised, but follows a tight format. The flexibility of no-script means we can offer a variety of formats and lengths… a full 90 minute evening performance, and shorter versions for schools and institutions. The work can include an interval for longer shows.
The work does require a decent sound system, and basic lighting for indoor shows. Whilst on requiring the simplest of lighting rigs local techies can go to town if they wish.
All we require from venues is basic lighting and sound equipment (we can hire and bring, but that will involve extra costs) and props tables, blacks and two benches (or 4 chairs). Help in rigging the backdrop appreciated.
Due to the physical nature of the performance kind floors are preferred. Concrete floors hurt.
Community and Audience Engagement
We will communicate with local Indigenous community groups and organisations and suggest pricing options to encourage them to attend. We will communicate with local schools with our letter from the Education Department which praises the work to underpin Indigenous studies.
Poster, flyer, artwork, promo video, sample media release, photos.
I can’t praise Bindjareb Pinjarra highly enough and I urge you to see it. It may be the most effective vehicle for black-white reconciliation you’ll ever see… and it’s a wonderful theatre experience.
(Brisbane Courier Mail)
The strength of this play lies in its ability to alternate and fuse the comic with the tragic, while saying something immensely important about Aboriginal perception of white culture.
A wonderful fusion of the comic (and the comedy is very funny) with the tragic… Bindjareb Pinjarra tells us about our past. And we grieve. But then it offers us a powerful paradigm for our future. And we hope.
(Sydney Morning Herald)
Concept and original presentation by Geoff Kelso, Trevor Parfitt, Kelton Pell and Phil Thomson. Current presentation also created by current cast. Backdrop by Lance Chadd. Technical production Craig Williams.
AvailabilityAnytime except February
AudienceThis is a reconciliation work. It works best with a cross-cultural mix of the local Indigenous community with the non-indigenous sector. People working with Indigenous people (medical, education and social workers) gain great insight. The Education Department praises this work for students.
DurationFrom 50 to 95 minutes depending on producers requirements.
Bump In4 hours
Bump Out2 hours
Costs- Weekly Fee: 9,000 (negotiable)
- Cost per performance: $3,000 (negotiable)
- Remount: N/A
- Royalties: 10%
*Above fees do not include touring costs
Company ContactsGeoff Kelso
0428 291 991
Tell me more
Venue FormatProscenium Arch, Black Box, Thrust, outdoors, prison hall ... we adapt to all formats.
Show Warnings: N/A
First possible performance: 2 hours post-bump-in
Minimum break between shows: 2 hours
Minimum stage width: 10 metres (but can possibly reduce this)
Minimum stage depth: 3 metres in front of the backdrop, space behind backdrop for actors to walk = 4 metres.
Minimum stage height: 3 metres (but have performed in rooms)
Staging & set description: The set is a 8m X 2m backdrop and 2 benches or 4 chairs. The props are a collection of sticks (small branches, didgeridoo, clap sticks, spears). The costumes are identical shirt/trousers and shoes. We require are 2 benches (or 4 chairs) and a lighting bar to hang the backdrop (leaving enough space for a props table and passage behind). For multiple performances laundry facilities are necessary (we get very sweaty).
Lighting provided by the company: N/A
Lighting to be provided by the venue: Can be performed in the outdoors, or just with floodlights, but to show it to its best advantage a simple lighting rig should include… 2 general stage floods (open white/flesh and one blue) 2 backdrop floods (open white and reds) 3 front stage central specials and 1 backdrop special. Blue worklight(s) backstage for actors to find props etc.
Audio provided by the company: A small portable PA can be hired and brought if required.
Audio to be provided by the venue: House speakers with computer links.
No. of additional staff to be provided by the venue: Help with bump-in/out would be most appreciated.
Dressing rooms required: One for 6 people.
Other technical or performance notes: House lights needed during show inter-action with audience and for post-show discussion with audience. In large auditoriums a radio mike for the audience can be useful. A friendly foyer space for post-show discussions is very beneficial to the reconciliation theme of the work – lets your diverse community mingle in a safe space.