It is rare that one gets the story of a great man told through the eyes of his family. This is currently happening at the Carriageworks.
THE FOX AND THE FREEDOM FIGHTERS is the story of Charles ‘Chicka’ Dixon – one of Australia’s foremost Aboriginal activists – told from the unique perspective of his daughter, Rhonda Dixon-Grovenor, and granddaughter, Nadeena Dixon, with then help of playwright Alana Valentine.
As well as their own experiences, they have drawn material from family and official photographs, newspaper reports, travel documents, ASIO files, interview transcripts, video footage and stories from those who knew him.
We see major events unfurl, the Aboriginal tent embassy being established and defended, the Aboriginal delegation to China, the recognition of Kooris as they are given the right to vote. Chika played a significant role in all these events.
What comes across is that Chicka was a great yet flawed man. As Rhonda says, “Don’t you for a minute think that there isn’t a cost to every single moment of this fight for freedom. It doesn’t come without a cost.” Rhonda’s testimony of her relationship with her father is, ‘shockingly real and achingly profound’.
Production elements are strong- Liza-Mare Syron is the helmer, Phil Downing is the sound designer and Clare Britton is the co-designer with Nadeena Dixon.
It is not our differences that THE FOX AND THE FREEDOM FIGHTERS emphasizes. It is the similarity of experience that comes to the fore.
As Chicka says,
“We are not separate except in our minds
All women are my sisters
All men are my brothers
I know my mother is the earth.”
THE FOX AND THE FREEDOM FIGHTERS, co-written by Rhonda Dixon-Grovenor and Alana Valentine, is playing Carriageworks until Saturday 22nd November. There will be a Q and A with the artist after the 8pm show on Friday 21st November.