Image Christophe Canato/Perth Festival
Dates: Feb 2021 Perth Festival; January 2022: Sydney Festival and Belvoir St. Theatre; 2023 Albany and Geraldton
Company: Performing Lines
Role: Director, Co-Creator
2022 PAWA Nominations: Best Mainstage Production; Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role.
A stirring deliberation on the choices we make and how they shape our lives, Black Brass is a theatrical feast; playful yet mysterious. Written and performed by Mararo Wangai, joined live onstage by musician Mahamudo Selimane, this intimate and 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 and 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 and a present that is unwilling to accept. Through flashback narrative and music, moments of darkness are tempered by soulful songs as the pair hurtles towards a pivotal decision that must be made come sunrise.
Black Brass draws inspiration from interviews conducted with Perth’s Zimbabwean, Sudanese, South African, Central Congo, Mauritius, Nigerian, Congolese and Kenyan communities 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.
Ultimately, Black Brass simmers with poetic subtleties and sophisticated layers of meaning that linger in mind long after its 60 minute duration. 4.5 stars out of 5 ★★★★☆
Expertly acted and sung with passion, the synchronicity of these performers is outstanding. While the subject matter is disturbing, there is a gentleness to the storytelling an a beautiful warmth in the presentation.
Black Brass is a captivating theatrical piece... well executed in all areas: the oratory prowess of Wangai as Sleeper, the transitions, lighting, music and innovative rotating stage were superb. But behind the artistic brilliance, Black Brass is a story of the harsh realities faced by many African-Australians.