Tag Archives: David Page

Page 8 @ Bangarra

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Part of this year’s Corroboree season and also linked in with the Bangarra 25th anniversary birthday celebrations this wonderful, huge hearted production explodes onto the Bangarra studio stage. The show was first performed a decade ago and was last seen in a fleeting season at Belvoir in 2009.

Directed by his brother Stephen , PAGE 8 is an intimate,  very revealing, autobiographical coming of age tale, which is about how David, the eighth child in a family of twelve grew up in a housing commission estate in Queensland.

This intimate self portrait , performed by David himself, has a captivating, witty, illuminating script co-written by Louis Nowra and incorporates storytelling,1970’s home movies, singing , dancing and a now legendary drag routine.

The show opens with David as a young boy receiving an old movie camera as a Christmas present, which he went on to use and made plenty of home movies.

He became ‘Australia’s answer to Michael Jackson’ at only thirteen . As ‘Little Davey Page’ he appeared on many television programs including  Countdown and The Paul Hogan Show, and his singles made it into the Australian Top 10. Then his voice broke.

David then embarked on a dark journey of self discovery in his teenage years, dealing with, among other things, coping with racism, family crisis, career directions and coming out as gay. As a teenager, he showed his talents as an award winning composer.

David has been involved in his brother Stephens’ dance company Bangarra as well as the Sydney 2000 Olympics , the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games and various movie and stage projects. He recently completed a very successful national tour of Black Diggers.

Page can best be described as an extraordinarily vibrant and versatile performer. Muscular, tattooed and sinuous, he is a striking , magnetic performer contrasting glorious creamy movements with stark dramatic ones.

During PAGE 8 he brings to life an incredible array of characters, especially his much loved family:- his parents, siblings , Aunty Tess and Uncle George. Also brought to life are a motley group of characters including bosses, teachers and agents.

David is  hilarious as as his younger self on television. He is ravishing as Frank N Furter from The Rocky Horror Show and dazzles as legendary soul singer, Aretha Franklin. He tells some very funny anecdotes against himself but can also subtly change the mood and be quite intense, serious and poignant.

Robert Cousins’ set design includes a rackety old kitchen full of assorted props.There is a glitzy  stage area including a huge double-door wardrobe, the  doors of which cleverly act as a projection screen. There are many costume changes- plenty of high heels and platform shoes. The stage lighting is a treat.

PAGE 8 is an extraordinary theatrical tour de force, – an extremely revealing , emotional solo performance from the heart of Bangarra and the Page clan.

Running time is two hours without interval.

PAGE 8 plays the Bangarra Studios until Sunday 14th December.

Sugarland

Elena Foreman and Dubs Yunupingu in SUGARLAND. Pic Tracey Schramm
Elena Foreman and Dubs Yunupingu in SUGARLAND. Pic Tracey Schramm

From time to time a new Australian production comes along that contains all the elements of great theatre – good writing, direction, acting and the accompanying creatives of lighting, sound, costume and set design.

SUGARLAND is all this and more.  Playwrights Rachael Coopes and Wayne Blair spent two months in the Northern Territory top end town of Katherine from 2011 to research their new play that was commissioned by ATYP (Australian Theatre for Young People). Continue reading Sugarland

PATYEGARANG

Thomas Greenfield and Leonard Mickelo in PATYEGARANG. Pic Jess Bialek
Thomas Greenfield and Leonard Mickelo in PATYEGARANG. Pic Jess Biale

The Bangarra Dance Company’s new production brings to light the story of Patyegarang, a remarkable young indigenous woman,

When the colonial fleet first arrived in Eora country in the late 18th Century, Patyegrarang, a young indigenous woman, befriended Lieutenant William Dawes, gifting him her language in an incredible display of trust and friendship.

The Company, under Artistic Director Stephen Page, have fashioned this latest work from various archival records including diaries maintained by Lt Dawes that were rediscovered in 1972. Dawes, an astronomer, mathematician and linguist by profession, recorded all his encounters with Patyegarang in his notebooks.

Continue reading PATYEGARANG

BLACK DIGGERS

BLACK DIGGERS1
One of the few light moments in the trenches

What a great story for a leading Australian theatre company like the Queensland Theatre Company (QTC) to tell at this time! And what timing! Whilst the show was still playing, on Australia’s Day, Koori AFL star Adam Goodes was announced ‘Australian Of The Year’.

BLACK DIGGERS tell of how, at a time when Kooris in this country were treated as less than second class citizen without voting rights, more than 1,000 indigenous soldiers fought side by side alongside their white countrymen in the battlefields of the Great War- in Palestine, the Somme, Gallipoli and Flanders Fields. Some became highly decorated soldiers…

It was another chapter in Australia’s- ‘White Australia has a very black history’- that the treatment that Koori returned servicemen received was no different from what they were used to before they left for the War.

With such a tough story, it would have been very easy for the playwright Tom Wright and the director Wesley Enoch to come up with a depressing, even spiteful production. Not so….Instead they have come up with a vibrant production.

The show went for 100 minutes without break, allowing the actors to maintain their momentum. We closely followed the individual journeys of the soldiers.

There were some sixty scenes- some stand-outs…The scene where two Kooris walk into a pub. The publican blocks their entrance. ‘We don’t have Kooris here’. From inside the pub a guy they fought alongside in the war spots them. He comes up to them and says to the publican- ‘You let these guys in- they fought with me in the war- or I will have words to the RSL about you’. His two mates are let in.

The play’s setting authentically changes from pre-war Australia to the horrors of the trenches to a cold, ineffectual post war country, giving us ‘the whole picture’. There was humour amongst the men with them just trying to stay on top of things.

A feature of Stephen Curtis’s set design was the chalkboard walls. Through the play the cast would inscribe telling details on these walls- signifying time periods, locations and much more.

The cast were great, delivering strong performances. The team comprised George Bostock, Luke Carroll, David Page, Hunter Page-Lochard, Guy Simon, Colin Smith, Eliah Watego, Tibian Wyles and Meyne Wyatt.

This was a show that absolutely called for something special and powerful. Wesley Enoch and his team  delivered.

A Sydney Festival and Queensland Theatre Company World Premiere production, BLACK DIGGERS played the Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House from the 17th to the 26th January, 2014.