Macq (OUR land people stories)

View from the wings: Macq

  • Appin
  • Choreography, Costumes, Sets & Lighting, Highlights, Performance

The view from side of stage as Macq is photographed from the wings, during the main stage season 2016

1. & 2. Bodies in the trees

With the simple use of bodies in space and a prism-like staircase, Choreographer Jasmin Sheppard creates a tragic conveyor belt of the slaughtered. Macquarie's diary ordered that the bodies of the dead be strung up in trees and here, the men on the stairs represent these bodies. This served as a warning of what would become of Aboriginal people if they 'misbehaved'. In Appin, it was the men's camp that was attacked first. A violent thunderstorm raged as the colony's military troops ambushed the mens camp. The sound of the thunderstorm masked the sound of the encroaching horses and the soldiers crept up to the men’s camp, unheard.

Nicola represents the women who tended to the dead. Nicola, as the lone woman on stage, embodies the disproportion of survivors to the carnage. The want and need to duly honour each of her deceased kin through ceremony is beyond her capacity as it was for the D’harag, overwhelmed by invasive diseases and war.

2. Picnic at Parramatta

Dancer Daniel Riley is captured from side of stage playing Govenor Macquarie in 'Picnic at Parramatta', 'Macq'. Side lighting from the booms is featured in this photograph. Side lighting beautifully sculpts and highlights bodies on stage. It can also make it difficult for dancers to balance on stage as bright lights from the side may effect balance. This is one reason dancers train their proprioceptive awareness. From the perspective of the audience, these side lights are often not seen, as black 'flats' or 'masking' usually hide the booms.