Skylab- Opening Night @ State Theatre Centre- 16/08
Directed by: Kyle J Morrison
Written by: Melodie Reynolds-Diarra
Adult Cast: Gary Cooper, Alan Little, Rayma McGrath Morrison,
Children Cast: Eva Bartlett, Donnathia Gentle, Jacob Narkle
In 1972, a piece of NASA’s Skylab hurtled towards the Earth, and scattered itself across the Australian south-west.
To get people into the theme of the story, an exhibition of some artifacts and news articles from that time were put on display.
Yirra Yaakin’s Skylab as an imaginative take on that forgotten slice of Australiana- that focuses on an Indigenous family that do their best to keep the household in order. The family on-stage is quite a nuclear unit, composing of a down on his luck father, a mother who holds it all together, an elderly relative of theirs who is obsessed with the stuff of conspiracy theories, and three children, who bicker amongst each other as children are wont to do.
This play is basically a game of two halves, with each half completely atonal from the other- the first is actually really good and is well composed- depicting the daily struggles of the aforementioned nuclear family, and the second abrogates the first as it heads towards a whimsical, slapstick direction (and where the story really falls off).
The children are the most endearing aspect the performance as their on stage antics- especially when they are fully dressed in their Monkey Magic get-up (and no doubt the references tickled to the nostalgia of the few who managed to stay up for those late nights on SBS back in the day), are quite the comic relief to the proceedings at hand.
I think Skylab had an idea in mind about the powers of imagination, but somewhere the execution didn’t quite pan out the way it was intended.
Skylab runs until 2nd September.