Review: The Migration Project – Come Out Festival 2013

Presented by AJZ Productions in association with Come Out Festival 2013, the Migration Museum and the City of Charles Sturt
Reviewed Wednesday 22nd May 2013

The future of Australia is in good hands if the students of William Light R-12 School and Woodville High School are anything to go by.

Director/Writer Alirio Zavarce has developed a powerful and bright message of hope, born from the ashes of personal stories told by migrants, refugee children, and first and fifth generation Australians.

For the audience, the journey begins on arrival, providing a taste of the migration process for many new arrivals: registration, nonsensical forms and then bullied into orderly cues with random victims forced to the end of the line again for no apparent reason. The questioning is unsettling – Are you left handed? Would you eat a jar of Vegemite to prove how Australian you are? Would you change the national anthem? What does “Fair Dinkum” mean? And the clincher – What makes you Australian?

Separated from the ones you came with adds to the sense of foreboding and isolation until the students welcome you in small groups with a message of belonging. Fifteen year old Kasonga Ngor claimed “I’m a part of it”, and proceeded to open minds by expanding our thinking: I’m a part of my school, my community, Australia, my heritage, the human race…

Soon, the show proper begins; a multimedia presentation on a wide stage scattered with suitcases. Almost a dozen students speak of their heritage, their journey and their aspirations, joined by many more in pre-recorded interviews. The tales are occasionally visualised by miniature sets projected live by camera, while a piano and viola underscore some dialogue.

Poor sound quality left some of the projected interviews difficult to understand but the gist of each response was always clear and, from the mouth of babes, evolved themes of gratitude, hope, acceptance and friendship.

The Migration Project is as brave as it is respectful, never politicising, never judging, but practicing the tolerance and heart that it reveals in our younger generations. The participants expose their own personal tragedies and dreams and leave it to you to make your own judgements.

This is great theatre made all the more powerful by the young cast. Its greatest failing is that those who need to see it, probably won’t.

Reviewed by Rod Lewis, Performing Arts Critic, Glam Adelaide.

Come Out Festival website

Duration: 90 Minutes
Tickets: $12.00 – $15.00
Venue 1: Drill Hall, Torrens Parade Ground, Victoria Drive, Adelaide
Season: 22-23 May at 7pm and 25 May at 2pm & 7pm
Bookings for Drill Hall performances: At BASS – Drill Hall listing

Venue 2: Woodville Town Hall, Woodville Road, Woodville
Season: 29 May at 7pm; 1 June at 2pm & 7pm; and 2 June at 2pm
Bookings for Woodville Town Hall performances: At BASS – Woodville Town Hall listing

Schools book through the Come Out Office


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