• Two theatre companies have come together to showcase their witty play, Black Ties. (Garth Oriander )
Two First Nations theatre companies are gearing up to showcase their comical production that explores the chaos of two cultures coming together for a wedding.
By
Brooke Fryer

Source:
NITV News
10 Jan 2020 - 4:48 PM  UPDATED 10 Jan 2020 - 4:48 PM

Prominent Aboriginal and Māori theatre companies have come together as part of the Sydney Festival to tell the comical story of a First Nations wedding.

ILBIJERRI Theatre Company and Te Rehia Theatre will showcase their witty play Black Ties on Friday night at Sydney's Town Hall.

The production is centered around a wedding day between an Aboriginal man and his Māori fiancé, which comically sees extended families from both sides come together for the first time. 

Artistic director Rachael Maza said the play was aimed at exploring one another's cultures in a humorous way. 

"Why we decided we wanted to make this show together was the opportunity to be able to tell the stories we want to tell between each other," Ms Maza told NITV News. 

"[Because] often our theatre is a commentary around what it is to be a first nations person in a non-Indigenous colonised country.

"So this whole idea about 'let's make a story that is about us' [and] it is not about the political juxtaposing of our cultures against the non-Indigenous cultures." 

The show features distinguished actor Uncle Jack Chares, Mark Coles Smith and Lisa Maza as they aim to reimagine the classical rom-com favourite from a First Nations perspective.

Uncle Jack considers himself as one of the "last grandfathers of black theatre" since establishing the Victorian Nindethana Theatre in Melbourne during the 1970s. 

Since that time, Uncle Jack said he has seen the industry take a positive shift to be more inclusive of First Nations voices and stories. 

"I can't mention names because it would be a disrespect, but I do know so much is being written... there is so many Indigenous people coming out of these colleges for the arts wanting to be writer," he said.

"Most theatres, white theatres, always have on their agenda to lock in a certain amount of Indigenous content... so I am really pleased, we are been given a good run at the moment." 

He said that although First Nations actors are not as prominent in mainstream television shows such as Neighbours, he is excited about the future of Aboriginal voices in Australian theatre. 

"We are being heard against the odds, we need to keep pushing," he said. "My heart goes out to the industry, at the moment I am very happy." 

The show will run until January 18 at Sydney Town Hall as part of the Sydney Festival.