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Perth, Australia.

PERTH INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL: When family members pass on, "we do not use their names or talk about them. So when they asked us whether people had died out there, we'd say nothing. It made it very easy for the government to pretend." So speaks Aboriginal actor Trevor Jamieson in Ngapartji Ngapartji (pronounced "Naa-par-gee"), a touring theatre work by experimental, community-based Aussie theatre group Big hART. At its center are the nuclear tests conducted by the British government during the Cold War in Australia's Maralinga Desert--in supposed ignorance of the Spinifex people, who had called the area home for many centuries. Jamieson approached Big hART founder Scott Rankin several years ago to suggest a production; anti-nuclear activist Alex Kelly became the third collaborator. The resulting show evokes the plight of the survivors, among them Jamieson's family, but also casts its gaze on Hiroshima and recent events in the Middle East (the cast of mostly indigenous Australian performers also includes a Japanese butoh dancer and an Afghan teenager). Performed partly in the Pitjantjatjara tongue, the play is connected to a project educating the public about the fast-vanishing Aboriginal language. Following its premiere at last year's Melbourne International Festival, where it was also workshopped, Ngapartji plays at the Perth International Arts Festival. Other Australian productions at the festival include Black Swan Theatre Company's hauntingly erotic The Lady Aoi, written by Yukio Mishima and helmed by Matthew Lutton; and Barking Gecko Theatre Company's Buster Keaton-flavored The Lost Girl, written by Melissa Cantwell and directed by Jeremy Rice. (Feb. 9-March 4; (61) 8-6488-2000; www.perthfestival.com.au and ninti.nqapartji.org)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

COMPILED BY NICOLE ESTVANIK

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Title Annotation:GLOBAL SPOTLIGHT; Perth International Arts Festival
Author:Estvanik, Nicole
Publication:American Theatre
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Feb 1, 2007
Words:273
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