The things that happen on Yungaburra Road

Issue 

The things that happen on Yungaburra Road

By Rosanna Barbero

SYDNEY — Death Defying Theatre's Yungaburra Road, written by Noelle Janaczewska, provides an examination and voyage into all forms of violence: individual, community, national and international. Through powerful songs, poetic words and rhythms, the play highlights physical aggression, sexual violation, colonisation and cultural destruction.

The play, which Death Defying Theatre is presenting in high schools, revolves around a cafe in a suburban street in Sydney's west. The residents of Yungaburra Road drop in to the cafe and describe their experiences with violence.

A young woman attempts to unveil the truth about the mysterious death of her grandmother amidst the secrecy that surrounds it.

A lesbian teacher is brutally beaten by a gang of homophobes whilst passers-by look on without assisting.

A gang of vigilantes decides that kids wearing baseball caps are a danger to society.

A refugee from East Timor gives a potent narrative of the Indonesian invasion and occupation and provides a powerful account of torture and persecution.

A young woman from Bosnia discloses the attempt to alienate a people's culture.

The play clearly exhibits and challenges the hypocrisy and contradictions that exist in our society in relation to acts of violence. Dianna Carr, who played the role of the lesbian teacher, said, "In some schools, during the scene where the lesbian teacher is attacked and beaten, the audience cheered". In addition, the principal of one school wrote a letter to Death Defying Theatre stating he had received a complaint from a parent who believed the play encouraged homosexual behaviour.

Dianna said, "Following the performance, discussion takes place which provides a forum to challenge ideas". Discussion might deal with the fact that while we condemn the violence in East Timor and Bosnia, our government condones it.

Powerful and cogent performances are provided by Zulema Cappielli, Dianna Carr, Paul Eastway, Maria Mitar and Angelico dos Santos. The play is performed in English, Tetum, Portuguese and Bosnian, mirroring the communities whose stories it tells.