Company / Producer Name: Performing Lines WA
Contact Person Jen Leys
Contact Email Jen@performinglineswa.org.au
Company Website: https://www.performinglines.org.au/projects/black-brass/
Black Brass is a soulful tribute to the choices we make and how they shape our lives
A stirring deliberation on the choices we make & how they shape our lives,?Black Brass?is a theatrical feast; playful yet mysterious. Written & performed by Mararo Wangai, joined live on stage by musician Mahamudo Selimane, this intimate & soulful experience celebrates stories of resilience -private victories rather than public actions. Arriving to clean a music studio late at night, Sleeper encounters a stranger who speaks only in music. The man is fascinating & oddly familiar. Slowly the pair are drawn into each other’s orbit, as each man tries to reconcile a past that refuses to let go & a present that is unwilling to accept. Through flashback narrative & music, moments of darkness are tempered by soulful songs as the pair hurtles towards a decision that must be made come sunrise. Black Brass?draws inspiration from interviews conducted with Perth’s African diaspora on the theme of resilience. Through its story it gives voice to the marginalised, offering a window into the lives and voices not often heard in the theatre, and asks: What does it mean to belong? What cultural baggage & heritage do we carry with us when we migrate? And how do we reconcile our past with our present? “My hope is to challenge contemporary notions of resilience; that one must ‘overcome’ in a big or dramatic way. By reaching out to people on the fringes of society & bringing to light their narratives, I hope to create a work that speaks to the whole rather than the few.” Mararo Wangai
This show has been created for touring. It is a two-hander, with a minimal set that sits on a 5m by 5m revolve. The story is equally told through theatre and live music performance. The narrative plays out between the present and past memories, using the resolve to transition the audience between these two worlds.
“Black Brass was on every level truly phenomenal. The world needs to see Black Brass in all its poetry and powerful relevance.” Wendy Martin
“This is the best new work I have seen in some time. The interplay between the two performers was wonderful and the music was sublime.” Guy Boyce
“Black Brass simmers with poetic subtleties and sophisticated layers of meaning that linger in mind long after its 60-minute duration” Arts Hub
“Expertly acted and sung with passion, the synchronicity of these performers is outstanding.” Stage Whispers
Duration of performance 70min
Maximum performances per week:5-7 shows
Weekly Fee: $17,000
Date the performance is available from Mid 2022
No. people in Touring Party 5
First Possible Performance Evening of 2nd Day. After Bump in.
Minimum Break Between Shows 2 hours
Theatre formats: Black Box
Minimum stage dimensions D:9m x W: 12m x H: 7m? to bottom of lamps
Staging and Set Description: The Black Brass set is comprised of a single, self-contained revolve 5.5 m in diameter and 310 mm in height. Bisecting the revolve in the centreline is a single wall 300 mm in thickness and 3 m in height, inset with two open doorways and a central window glazed on both sides of the wall with two panes of clear acrylic. The sight-lines through this window are integral to the blocking of the show, and therefore the audience configuration that gives the best experiences is one that tapers in the front three or four rows; fanning out beyond. Please see the original ground plan in the State Theatre Centre (WA) Studio Underground for a clearer indication. Black Brass requires basic black box masking with 2 x sets of legs, and an upstage, split tab through which a performer makes a final exit. In its original season, there was no border masking.
Lighting requirements Lighting is a critical component in the design realisation for Black Brass. The Lighting design utilises a combination of standard conventional fixtures, Moving lights and a number of booms. We will work to your venue equipment list as much as possible, but some hires (provided by the Presenter) may be necessary. Please note, the accurate positioning of the lighting bars over the revolve is imperative. Venue may need to hang short pipes to accommodate those central fixtures if existing positions cannot be utilised. Note a full pre-rig(fixtures hung, patched and flashed with colour cut) is required prior to the Company’s arrival at the venue. Please notify us as soon as possible if this is not achievable for your venue, as it will result in time/labour requirements in addition to those outlined in these specifications. The Show is programmed on ETCIon. Please notify us If this console is not available.
Audio requirements The sound for Black Bras sis a mixture of live guitar and radio mics worn by performers with audio playback via Qlab. Note that audio operation must be from within the auditorium with an unimpeded line of sight to the PA. Some seats may need to be removed from sale to achieve this requirement. The touring Stage Manager operates the Qlab show file from prompt side wings via screen share to Show computer at FOH Audio Position.
What marketing collateral is available?
The show comes with a comprehensive marketing pack, a full suite of promo images and production shots, promo videos (including audience vox pop and foyer engagement), content for a show program and a community engagement proposal. Posters and flyers can be designed and provided if required.
What community engagement is possible with this work: Black Brass offers a powerful new work and a model for attracting Culturally Diverse audiences, enabling venues and presenters to connect with their local communities of colour, especially those from an African background, to curate the pre and post-show experiences. Through both the performance and surrounding community engagement, Black Brass is a community ‘take-over’ and celebration event providing multiple access points for the presenting venues and touring artists to meaningfully engage with local artists, sector and audience for a genuine season of storytelling, listening and sharing. This will open up opportunities for local artists to get involved. The work comes in 3 parts to create a holistic performance experience. However, the show can also just do a standalone season without the accompanying pre and post-show experiences.
Part 1: The pre show experience looks much like an African night market. It introduces audiences to the vibrance?of African culture through its music, art and food with a bespoke foyer installation that engages local communities from the African diaspora to create activities such as hair braiding, Ethiopian coffee roasting, traditional proverbs, accompanied by a display of crafts and products from local artists ranging from jewellery, clothing to homewares as well as food offerings of African cocktails and mocktails, bar snacks and Ethiopian coffee. This foyer experience takes place an hour before the performance.
Part 2 The Show – a two-hander that runs for 70 min.
Part 3 A post-show experience with live music and dance curated by local artists from the African diaspora celebrates the music and dance of different regions in Africa.
What is the ideal target market?
We are interested in working with presenters who want to present innovative works and are committed to diversifying their audiences. This show would suit a black box theatre space, with an accompanying foyer in any town that is home to migrant communities, communities from the African Diaspora, interracial and mutigenerational families as well those interested in music, spoken word and cultural events. This work, commissioned by Perth Festival, has high production values. The strong music content of the show will appeal to a broader audience. As an accessible piece of theatre, with the text delivered in English, accompanied by Music in Lingala, Portuguese, Swahili, English, this is a work for ages 12+ and is for anyone who has had to leave something or someone behind in order to build a new life.