‘Heart is a Wasteland’ coming to Arts Centre: ‘It’s one of those stories we never get to see’

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‘Heart is a Wasteland’ coming to Arts Centre: ‘It’s one of those stories we never get to see’

Heart Is A Wasteland

ILBIJERRI Theatre Company’s restaging of 'Heart is a Wasteland' is coming to Arts Centre Melbourne's Fairfax Studio in August.

Heart is a Wasteland – directed by the ILBIJERRI Theatre Company’s multi-award-winning artistic director Rachael Maza (Yidinji/Meriam) – will bring John Harvey’s (Saibai Island) humorous and deeply heartfelt script to life at Arts Centre Melbourne from August 25 – 27 this year.

Following a sell-out season at the 2021 Darwin Festival, the theatre piece coincides with activities celebrating 30 years of ILBIJERRI giving voice to First Nations cultures through the ongoing creation of innovative works by First Nations artists. The longest established First Nations theatre company in Australia, ILBIJERRI creates, presents and tours powerful and engaging theatre by First Nations artists that gives voice to Indigenous cultures.

What you need to know

  • Heart is a Wasteland by John Harvey
  • Fairfax Studio | 25 – 27 August
  • Duration: 75 minutes, no interval

Explore Melbourne’s latest art events, exhibitions and performances here.

This production of Heart is a Wasteland is a reinterpretation by Maza, but still retains the original’s focus on combining live music and storytelling in a complicated cross-country love story through the Red Centre.

“I’m incredibly excited to be working on Heart is a Wasteland because it’s one of those stories we never get to see on our stages,” said Maza.

“I have the privilege to sit in a room with our writer and creative team to come at it with fresh insight and get the work to where it needs to be. I love working with John Harvey too; his rich intelligence for telling a human story really comes lifting out of the script.”

In Heart is a Wasteland, Raye (Monica Jasmine Karo, Gunai/Gunditjmara), a country-music star in the making, plays pub-to-pub along Australia’s vast desert highways trying to make a living in the hope of returning home to her son, Elvis. But when she meets Dan (Ari Maza Long, Yidinji/Meriam), another young wanderer at the cross-roads of life, a love affair unfurls over a four-day drive to Alice Springs.

Heart Is A Wasteland

“I wanted to bring this human experience across that we all kind of share but in this uniquely Indigenous voice,” said Harvey. “I wanted it to also explore our relationships with each other and our relationships to country but how our relationships to country affect our relationships with each other.”

With original music by Lydia Fairhall (Worimi), exquisitely arranged by Gary Watling (Wiradjuri), freshly conceived sets and adventurous audio-visual design, this production brings Australia’s stunning outback right to the front matched by the vitality of its young leads.

“It’s a beautifully poetic piece and it’s in this same style that the music sits right in and is able to propel the emotional journey of our protagonists and allow the world of the play to speak through the music,” said Maza.

Tickets from artscentremelbourne.com.au.