Rations (Walkabout)

Rations: In Rehearsal and On Stage

  • Choreography, Costumes, Sets & Lighting, Highlights, Performance, Behind the Scenes

Rations pulls at the threads of hand-me-downs. Lured from their homelands, clothed in cast offs and fed an alien diet of flour and sugar, the people find themselves trapped in a cycle of dependency.

This image gallery features Rations moments from both on and off stage, 2002. Frances Rings is captured watching rehearsals, deep in thought, as the section 'Blankets' is created and rehearsed. Other images featured were taken during live performances.

"Researching Rations has been an intense experience for me-it's great because I'm learning all this history but I also feel bad because I'm finding out all these things I feel I should have known.

Aboriginal people would come in from the bush and be given the rations and then the settlers would say "You have to stay here now, you can't go beyond those boundaries, you can't go back out bush, you have to leave that and live in town and be like us." These people had ceremonies and rituals they had to perform and as soon as they were prevented from doing so, it caused conflict.

The whole ration system had an addictive quality, the addiction suffocated everyone and kept them there as well. And the diet, it was a big difference in what they were used to eating -the heaviness and the weighing down, the addictiveness of sugar. But also the flour was poisoned with strychnine and arsenic, the blankets were laced with smallpox. There was that other sinister level which always exists in Australian history."

Frances Rings, 2002