Created and Devised by Moogahlin Performing Arts with Linden Wilkinson.
When Toots and Colleen set out from Redfern to drive Dolly back to her country on the south coast of NSW, they naively imagine that it will be a routine road trip to take her home to country. The three women know little about each other but beneath their damaged, self-abusive personas there are more important stories to tell and secrets that deserve to be heard. Dolly is a chronic alcoholic with deep psychological scars that hide her delightful innocence and generous spirit. Toots, a failed musician who rejected her people to pursue dreams of fame and stardom, is burnt out and Col a non-Aboriginal woman who abandoned her daughter to save herself from an abusive marriage, desperately hides her loneliness and sadness behind an intricate web of lies and deceit. However, the past catches up with each at the ceremonial burial of Dolly's beloved sister who disappeared when Dolly was a child.
This Fella, My Memory is a cultural and spiritual road map of Aboriginal NSW. Created and devised by Moogahlin Performing Arts, this emotionally charged new theatre production is the first work produced by an Aboriginal theatre company in Redfern in 40 years. Moogahlin continues a strong tradition of theatre making started by the Black Theatre in the 1970s.
Director and Artistic Director of Moogahlin, Frederick Copperwaite, says that the production was devised in a unique and collaborative creative process. We have worked closely in consultation with Aboriginal elders and community, and we are especially proud that together, we have been able to collectively imagine and share ownership of a story about the community in which we all live and work he said.
This Fella, My Memory is a celebration of the strength, tenacity and spirit of older Aboriginal women, whose stories are rarely told, said Carriageworks Aboriginal Artistic Associate Andrea James. It is also a cultural mapping of Aboriginal NSW. There are clear borders and symbols across this state and while these are not visible to non Aboriginal people, to these women they are as clear as night and day. So as Dolly and Toots, wind their way through the outback, so too do they trace their memories and those of their ancestors. The landmarks of country are as familiar to them as the lines on their faces, and their real journey becomes a spiritual journey also reconnecting them with memory and place.
This Fella, My Memory was created and devised by Aunty Rhonda Dixon Grovenor, Bjorn Stewart, Linden Wilkinson, Lily Shearer, Matt Edgerton, Rosealee Pearson, Katherine Beckett and Frederick Copperwaite with Aboriginal Elders Aunty Christine Blakeney and Uncle Max (Dulumunmun) Harrison.
Carriageworks have an interesting link about this project on their tumblr page talking to this work at the developmental stage. It gives great insight not only about the work, but also about Moogahlin Performing Arts.