Play brings First Nations perspective

June 13, 2022 BY

Action: The cast includes actors Corey Saylor-Brunskill, Shiralee Hood and Nicola Ingram. Photo: TIM BOTTAMS

AN adaptation of Hannie Rayson’s 2015 play Extinction is offering a First Nations take on the story’s environmental message.

Later this month, the Creswick Theatre Company will put on Extinction: The Ballad of Pirt Koorrook with shows at the town’s courthouse and a final performance at Ballarat’s Eureka Centre.

The project was conceived by First Nations artist Georgia MacGuire and directed Tim Drylie.

“I think the difference with this play from the original is that it strongly brings in an element of country and the environment as the backdrop to a living system,” Drylie said.

“It comes to the fore with this adaptation. The cross-current between the need for climate healing and the compromises that come with it, this time told through a First Nations perspective.

“So, we’re bringing different definitions that the original play didn’t draw on.”

The play is set on Gudabunung country in the Otways, and centres on the ecological effects of an energy company’s decision to place power lines throughout the region.

Creswick Theatre Company’s interpretation has a cast of five, with three of performers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander decent.

Rayson helped develop the script for the adaptation, alongside consultation with Gadubanad Elder, uncle Ronald Arnold and First Nations playwright Nazaree Dickerson.

The final show at the Eureka Centre will take place during NAIDOC Week and performer Corey Saylor-Brunskill said is a great way to convey the play’s broader message.

“There’s a serendipity about the show lining up with that that speaks for itself,” he said.

“With all the floodings and fires that are happening, I think it’s really important to start listening to the Aboriginal caretakers of this country.

“We need to learn from their knowledge, learn how to do burning circles, do burn-offs properly, to look after country properly by the people that have looked after it for millennia.”

Extinction: The Ballad of Pirt Koorrook will debut on Sunday, 26 June.

Tickets are $20, concession $16 and children $12. Visit creswicktheatre.com.au for more information and to book.