Wild Cherries was the first collaboration between Daniel Keene, one of Australia’s best known playwrights, both locally and internationally, and director Beng Oh. Produced by La Mama Theatre in 2019 it looks at the lives of people caught in the scourge of modern slavery, people on the margins who are hard to see and whose suffering is easy to ignore. Featuring a diverse cast of eight actors the production became the basis of an ongoing collaboration and the Keene Oh Theatre Workshop.
Victims of modern slavery number in their millions. This violation of human rights is worldwide and exists in many forms, including human trafficking, forced labour, debt bondage, domestic servitude and the exploitation of children. While we may read reports of these crimes and the fight to eradicate them, their victims remain largely anonymous. This anonymity is a kind of prison; these people have no names, no histories, no voice, hidden in degrading circumstances in numbers so large that their situation seems to defy understanding. They are statistics, not people.
Wild Cherries looks at the lives of a small group of people whose labour is exploited and whose freedoms have been curtailed, allowing each of them to speak, briefly, about themselves, to say who they are. Their stories are broken and unfinished, and their futures are uncertain. But perhaps for a moment they can stand in plain sight and be heard, to assert their humanity, to be real.
La Mama Courthouse
14 to 25 August 2019
“Wild Cherries is a mesmerising play that treats its subject matter — the disorientated lives of those caught in the modern slave trade – unflinchingly.” – The Music
“A sad, dust-filled, twilight world, in which the bare flickers of humanity and love flame against impossible odds.” – Witness Performance
“Beng Oh directs a show ripe with dramatic possibility, with riveting performances that pluck absurd humour, poignancy, rage and sorrow from places even those who’ve read the text might not expect … His production ensures Wild Cherries will endure to be regarded as one of the playwright’s finest”
“The hallmark of Keene and Oh’s staging is the evocative and clear compassion for the characters, their compassion for humanity. The performances are all expertly crafted and engrossing.”
SET AND COSTUME DESIGN
Carmelina Di Guglielmo