Nyuntu Ngali | Windmill Theatre & Big hARTLeft - Anne Golding, Derek Lynch & Trevor Jamieson. Cover - Trevor Jamieson. Photos - Tony Lewis

A twisted white ribbon, stretched across Sydney Theatre Company’s Wharf 2 Theatre twirls in a single light. Nyuntu Ngali (Pitjantjatjara for ''You We Two'') begins simply. A single figure pushing a large box across the landscape of the space - it’s heavy. The story starts simply as many great stories do - a birth.

It is the outback in the 22nd Century. Life as we know it now, has been mythologized as a time when there was petrol and ipods for all, when the pursuit of love was aided by vodka cruises and pop music and when communication was predominantly in the form of mobile phones. Two teenagers, Roam (Derek Lynch) and Eva (Anne Golding), are on the run from their families - on account of their “wrong- way marriage.” Eva is pregnant with Roam’s baby and after the birth, after some discussion - Roam and Eva embrace their family and set about creating a life with one another - ill-equipped as they feel they are as teenage parents.

Writer/Director Scott Rankin has harnessed a plethora of remarkable talent in the creation of Nyuntu Ngali - two fascinating companies - community based Big hART and youth/family centric Windmill Theatre, the wide ranging talents of people who contributed to workshops in Ernabella, Mimili and Adelaide, the advice of the Pitjantjatjara people, a range of artists including Gina Rings (Choreographer), Nigel Levings (Lighting Designer), Beth Sometimes (Musical Director & Community Producer & Musician), Elliat Rich (Objects Designer)n Nick Higgins (AV Creator/Operator), Jennifer Wells (musician) and three incredibly skilled and magnetic actors, Derek Lynch, Anne Golding and Trevor Jamieson.

Rankin has created a unique and multi-facetted production - one which speaks to us about the need to look back in order to look forward. Though sophisticated, this is a beautiful story, surprising and frequently funny in an “I’m embarrassed I recognise the truth/horror in that bit” kind of way. The story and the production process itself speaks of the power of community influence and the redefinition and the value of passing on and sharing culture.

The story is beautiful and simple - reaching back into the canon of western literature - and translating and reframing a love story for a new audience. Although Roam and Eva are in exile, abandoned in gaping silence of the desert and a post-oil reality, love continues to endure - not a smooth or complacent love - but love which is duty-bound, effort inspiring. Despite it’s temporal shift, Nyuntu Ngali is just as much as a reflection of who we are now as a society, as much as a cautionary tale: when the oil runs out, when the pursuit of “excess” is no longer the common human experience - what will we have? What will we do? What will we know? And what will matter most?

A beautiful production - authentic, well crafted and it should be celebrated by audiences for all that it is, a cautionary tale, a prophecy, a comment on contemporary values.


Windmill and Big hART present
Nyuntu Ngali (You We Two)
Writer and Director Scott Rankin

Venue: Wharf 2, Sydney Theatre Company
Dates: 5 - 14 May, 2010
Evening performances: Wed 5 May 7pm, Sat 8 May 7pm & Fri 14 May 7pm
Tickets: $25 - $31 (transaction fees may apply)
Visit: www.sydneytheatre.com.au

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