Indigenous performer Elaine Crombie has to live over the trauma of the Stolen Generations time and again in The 7 Stages Of Grieving, written by Wesley Enoch and Deborah Mailman, and directed by Sharri Sebbens.
Crombie was robbed of her Indigenous heritage when her mother was stolen from her parents.
“I have no living culture that I can practise or pass down to my sons, whom I call ‘the Giants’. I have no language I can teach my children.”
Crombie’s mother introduced her daughter to the world of theatre when Elaine was very young.
“We used to do little play readings and perform all the drama games, and get dressed up,” she says.
Crombie’s mother was herself an actress, Lilian Crombie, who has featured in Ivan Sen’s Mystery Road and Baz Luhrmann’s Australia, among other films and plays.
Crombie was thrilled when she received the Helpmann Award for Barbara And The Camp Dogs.
“It was nice to be acknowledged for that show in particular, which is about loss and grief and family connection, and it’s about playing out our trauma on stage.”
Crombie plays the guitar and trombone, and started writing her own songs from the age of 16. Soon she hopes to produce an acoustic version of her songs for CD.
Of her current role, she says, “It’s a bitter-sweet realisation that I’m really good at my job and really good at putting myself through the paces of grief every night while I’m playing in The 7 Stages Of Grieving.”
May 21-Jun 19. Wharf 1 Theatre, 15 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay. $44-$60+b.f. www.sydneytheatre.com.au