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2007 Media Release - The Eyes of Marege

Issued Monday, 3 September 2007


5 - 7 October, The Studio

Written by Julie Janson
Co-directed by Sally Sussman and Asia Ramli Prapanca
Choreographed by Bernadette Walong and Djakapurra Munyarryun

Featuring Lisa Flanagan, Djakapurra Munyarryun, Rod Smith and artists from Teater Kita Makassar, Sulawesi

The sights and sounds of Indigenous Australia and Indonesia will be brought to life in The Studio with a fusion of high-powered physical theatre, music, song and dance. Staged on a huge bamboo boat, The Eyes of Marege tells a traditional tale with a contemporary edge.

Six artists from Sulawesi’s top contemporary theatre company, Teater Kita Makassar, will work alongside five of Australia’s best Indigenous artists and musicians to celebrate 400 years of trade and cultural exchange between the two cultures.

Re-creating the hidden history between the peoples of Northeast Arnhemland and the Makassan fishermen, The Eyes of Marege tells the extraordinary story of a young Indigenous man’s journey to Makassar at the turn of the 20th century.

When a fisherman is killed during a fight over a sacred Aboriginal object, Birramen (Rod Smith) must sail to Makassar to be tried for murder. After five years in prison and marriage to a local woman, he returns home enriched by the music, culture and peoples of this vibrant sea-faring city.

The Eyes of Marege combines startling visuals, comic physical theatre and percussive drum rhythms to create a driving base for high-energy dance. The haunting Islamic music of Sulawesi is performed on ancient instruments, backed by the earthy drone of the didjeridoo.

Since 1996, director Sally Sussman and writer Julie Janson have collaborated on a number of cross-cultural theatre projects that express the connections and clashes between traditional forms and contemporary sensibilities. Major projects include Yellow Feather at The Studio in 2004, Orientalia, Black Mary and Mutations at Mabou Mines.

Established in 1993, Teater Kita Makassar produces two new works a year which are physical and highly visually striking. Director Ram Prapanca’s experimental style draws inspiration from traditional Bugis and Makassan culture, local rituals, artefacts and activities of daily life.

Choreographer Bernadette Walong was former artistic director, choreographer and dancer with Bangarra Dance Theatre. She has created works for The Flying Fruit Fly Circus, Australian Dance Theatre and The Australian Ballet. Djakapurra Munyarryun is a cultural consultant with Bangarra linking traditional past and contemporary present. After leading roles with the company in Praying Mantis Dreaming and Ninni he hit his stride in 1995 with Ochres, recreating his dance traditions with engrossing spirituality.

Australian Performance Exchange (APE) is an innovative new theatre company that creates and produces contemporary, intellectual performances with artists from Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia, Asia and the rest of the world. The vision of artistic director Sally Sussman, APE is devoted to creating new Australian theatre work that responds to current and historic concerns of cultural identity, art and politics, diversity and social justice.

SEASON DETAILS: The Eyes of Marege
Dates/Times: Friday 5 and Saturday 6 October at 7.30pm. Sunday 7 October at 5pm.
Venue: The Studio
Tickets: All tickets $30 / groups of 4 or more $20 per person
Bookings: (02) 9250 7777 or online at
Duration: 60 minutes


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