MY URRWAI, A Story That Transcends Generations
Recipient of both the renowned Keir Choreographic Award and the Deadly Funny Melbourne International Comedy Festival Award, Ghenoa Gela's storytelling is very versatile, whose multidisciplinary artistry expands across the mediums of dance, acting and comedy. In 'My Urrwai', Gela shares her personal journey as a Torres Strait Islander woman and the complex political, social, colonial expectations she's encountered and continues to navigate in her daily life as a blackfella. And she doesn't hold back in her stories. They're not all filled with sunshine and rainbows but instead, are stories that we don't often like to tell. Stories that make us feel things that we don't like to feel and in which we are put in scenarios that make us uncomfortable. Gela isn't afraid to share those stories with us and not only does she show us through movement how she felt but invites audience members (one of whom I was) to literally step in her shoes. There were three of these moments scattered throughout the hour long narrative, when she was being racially discriminated because of the colour of her skin and not because of her character.
As a reviewer, I don't think I should have the right to judge (or criticise) someone's personal story. You can't change someone's past and you can't choose what stories an artist will choose to share from their previous experiences. But, I think Gela found the perfect blend of good and bad and the pretty and ugly. And the way she crafted each story was engaging and entertaining, and never for a second did I stop listening to her voice.
This piece was everything an excellent work of theatre should be: thought-provoking and entertaining and I can't wait to follow Gela's journey with this work.
Rating: 4 Stars