C-Block Theatre, Gorman Arts Centre, Braddon. March 8-11.
A brief note on The Age of Bones. This little piece swam into town for a few days, full of the seas that separate the islands of Indonesia and the stories of those who venture into them, whatever their reasons. It’s a dark story, based on the true stories of under-age Indonesian boys imprisoned in Australia after being unwittingly caught up in people smuggling.
It’s full of feeling for the background and situation of Ikan, the boy who finds himself caught up in a justice system he does not understand in a foreign country, while at home his parents grieve, not knowing if he is alive or dead.
The piece makes extensive use of Indonesian puppet traditions, with the banter between a couple of lower class characters and a strong sense of the storyteller. There are English subtitles for those who do not know Bahasa. Overlaying the shadow puppets is the powerful use of modern film and projections with much use of images of the sea in all its moods.
Pivotal courtroom scenes where an Australian lawyer defends the boy are given an edge of dark humour as the court functionaries become sea creatures like sharks and squid.
An energetic and poetic piece about important issues. The storyteller finally confronts the audience. Where indeed does our tax money go?