East Timor on stage


East Timor on stage

By Vannessa Hearman

MELBOURNE — A new play on East Timor, staged by the Melbourne University Student Union Theatre, opens here on August 6. Zero Sum is based on the events surrounding the death of Kamal Bamadhaj, a human rights activist and University of New South Wales student.

Kamal was killed in the November 12 Dili massacre. He was travelling in East Timor as an interpreter for a Community Aid Abroad worker.

The play was written after extensive research. Ironically, foreign minister Gareth Evans agreed to be interviewed. Interviews were also conducted with members of the Timorese community, activists and friends of Kamal. This was then transformed into improvisation and recorded on video. Zero Sum utilises multimedia material, such as footage of the massacre, slides from the Fretilin forces in East Timor and contemporary music.

According to Rose Myers, artistic director for the department, the theme was chosen because it seemed a relevant issue for university students and young people in general. Zero Sum promises to serve as a timely reminder of the human rights abuses occurring on our doorstep. As well, it will highlight the people who risk their lives in the struggle for change and social justice.

The play will run from August 6 to 15 at 8 p.m. at the Union Theatre, Melbourne University. Matinees on August 14 and 15. For bookings phone 344 3994. Don't miss the East Timor Benefit Night on Monday, August 10.