Visceral. Evocative. Moving. Commanding scenes floored audiences last at the Belvoir Street Theatre in Surry Hills as Nathan Maynard’s At What Cost? exploded with career-defining performances by Luke Carroll, Sandy Greenwood, Alex Malone, and Ari Maza Long.
The minimalist set gave way to robust story-telling as the four actors captivated onlookers with a narrative leaving no questions about the latest evolution of the battles faced by Indigenous Australians – in Tasmania.
In scenes reminiscent of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Carroll cradles a skull in his hands raising it high above his head, crying out to his ancestors in the sky for direction on how to safely reunite the spirit of a long-deceased loved one who’s remains have been returned from a museum in England.
At What Cost? is a history lesson that sheds light on the lesser-known parts of the Indigenous genocide in Tasmania, and a contemporary lesson on how the Palawa mob of Tasmania faces new and insidious attacks on their sovereignty and indigeneity. How passionate discussions can divide happy relationships, and how an absence of ‘belonging’ is responsible for some non-Indigenous people identifying as Indigenous to fill an emptiness inside themselves.
This powerful production is an eye-opener. The performances expose the vulnerability and flaws of the ‘human condition’ for Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike; at the overall expense of First Nations Australians. A theme all too consistent with the dark Australian history that underscores this important tale.
Carroll steals the show with his passionate performance that will have this talented First Nations man marked for success in future roles both theatre-based and otherwise – a remarkable representation.
The stripped-back nature of At What Cost? will leave audiences stunned before giving way to the much-needed conversations on what the consequences will be for First Nations Australians if the rights to Indigenous identity are taken away from established Aboriginal groups and left solely in the hands of an indifferent government.
Until Feb 20. Belvoir Theatre, 25 Belvoir St, Surry Hills. $35-$91+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.belvoir.com.au