Thursday, April 09, 2009

Bain Stewart and Leah Purcell

A very productive hour with Bain Stewart. I last saw him in Brisbane in 2007, when I went to the Dreaming. Now he's in London, because his partner, Leah Purcell, is rehearsing When the Rain Stops Falling at the Almeida. Apparently the idea had been to do this Australian play with an English cast, until Michael Attenborough saw Leah performing, and decided she had to come. Given that it's not a case of finding an indigenous Australian to play an indigenous role (Leah plays a white character), that's quite a compliment. And well deserved - she's an amazing performer.

She is also the director of Black Chicks Talking, which we are screening at Origins. Sadly, the screening clashes with a matinee for her, so she can't be there - but Bain, who produced the film, will come and introduce it. And it looks like Leah can be part of our panel on identity - which is a key theme in her film. Bain tells me that the film got really interesting reactions in the US, where there was a very diverse audience. He points out how the questions it raises about ethnic and cultural identity have become some acute in America that people have specific quotas of blood which allow them to claim a native identity. But, he says, that's imposed by the white government - it's not how native people feel. This is one of the central concerns of Mohawk Girls, which I've programmed to screen straight after Black Chicks Talking. He's going to stay on and watch it!

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