New Works Department #3 - Proper Solid 2013
The year is 2067 and The Republic of Australia is run by Paul Toppy, your everyday Aboriginal President. Problem is, Paul doesn’t know much about being Aboriginal. All that changes one day though when Paul on his Presidential campaign steps onto sacred ground. Travelling back in time he meets a family who teaches him values he forgot about in his quest to not only be President but a citizen of The Republic. During his stay with the family, Paul starts to question the importance of family and identity and just what is the true meaning of success? Asking the question, no matter what time you’re from, does having it all really bring happiness?
In July 2013 we will have a week of Design & Creative Development with the Playwright Steven Oliver followed by a public Show & Tell as part of NAIDOC on the Friday 12th July at 6.30pm.
Directed by Nadine McDonald Dowd
Dramaturg, Peter Matheson
Sound Design, Nick Mills
Set Design, Simone Tesorieri
Featuring Simon Hapea, Norah Bagiri & Leroy Parsons
How Proper Solid started:
In January 2012: JUTE Theatre Company was approached by the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs (previously the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island (ATSI) Services, Department of Communities) about developing a project that would use theatre to celebrate First Peoples success stories.
JUTE became very excited by the prospect of developing this project and created a long-term program which would see a major production of the work in 2014 followed by a schools program to take these positive stories to young people.
Commissioning the Playwright: Aboriginal playwright, Steven Oliver from Brisbane was identified as the perfect writer for this project. Steven has family connections to this region, is known for his comedy writing and was previously engaged on a Brisbane ‘Deadly Stories’ project. Steven had also worked with JUTE previously and was well aware of the company and our new work development. After consultations, Steven was commissioned for the first draft of a new work to meet the brief.
In April/May 2012: To begin the project, a 3-day creative development took place this year to set the project on its course. The creative development process was about gathering the inspiration, defining the framework for the work and developing a strong basis from which Steven could begin to write the first draft of the work. Renowned dramaturg, Peter Matheson, was engaged to support the playwright through the development of the work and Artistic Director, Suellen Maunder lead the project and set the creative framework within which the work would grow. Local actors Jimi Bani and Simon Hapea took part in the development of the ideas following the inspirational stories session.
Inspirational Success Stories: The key to the development of the play was the telling of personal success stories by First Peoples from this region. It was a privilege to witness the energy and uplifting stories told during that session on the first day. While no individual stories are being used in the script, Steven was able to capture the key elements of these inspiring stories and they have formed the basis for the ideas within the play.
In August 2012: Steven Oliver delivered the First Draft of the commission which we built upon in the three day creative development in August. The creative development involved readings by the actors, followed by dramaturgical discussions, propelling Steven to undertake rewrites to sharpen the structure, characterisation and story of the script. At the end of the 3 day creative development, excerpts of the script were identified for the public reading to give the audience an insight into the work in development.