[20020037] Shadows


William Yang @ Parks Theatre Two

5:00pm, Sun 3 Mar 2002

Score: 8

Short Review: Overt

“Shadows” is a piece that somehow manages to meld the stories of East and West Germany, their reunification, and the theme of Aboriginal reconciliation together. Flanked by two slide-show screens, noted photographer William Yang cruised through a ninety minute monologue, accompanied by a selection of his own photos.

Based on Yang’s travels and experiences with friends, lovers and colleagues, he covers the period from 1980 to the present day. Along the way, he introduces us to the characters central to his discussion – the adopted Aboriginal son of a friend, an ex-boyfriend, and the people that surrounded them. We then follow him on several trips to outback Enngonia, Berlin (both pre- and post-unification), and the South Australian German settlements.

Yang placed particular emphasis on the continual spiritual malaise of the Enngonian settlement, showing the decay of their culture due to the white inputs of alcohol and violence. He also juxtaposed the systematic decimation of the Aboriginal communities in the earlier parts of last century with the genocide inflicted upon the Jewish peoples by the Hitler-led Germans. And yet, despite these weighty matters, Yang still managed to expose his own dry, wry wit – witness the “second best meal” he had in Germany.

Colin Offord provided wonderfully textured, subtle background music – playing flute (in the style of a didgeridoo), some percussive stuff (with his feet), and this uber-woodwind-string-instrument that pretty much defies description. And this was a very enjoyable monologue; it’s just that the political nature of the content was a little… overt for me. As subtle as a brick, that just managed to put a damper in the work that, while optimistic, left me… edgy.

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