Thursday, 2 November 2006

Catch a Star…Falling, Somebody's Daughter, Nov 2, 2006

Catch a Star…Falling
By Somebody’s Daughter and Highwater Theatre
Chapel off  Chapel until Nov 5 then Butter Factory Theatre, Wodonga Nov 8-11, 2006
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Nov 2, 2006

 Recently we saw plenty of esoteric and indulgent art during our festival. It is a delight and a relief to see Catch a Star… Falling: raw, moving and inspirational community theatre that gives a voice to marginalised rural youth and ex-prisoners. 
This is a unique experience that everyone in a position of privilege and safety needs to see.
With Artistic Director, Maud Clark, a small group of women ex-prisoners with a history of drug addiction work in Northern Victoria with 12 to 16 years olds who exhibit anti-social behaviour or drug and alcohol abuse. Many dropped out of school and are, or have been, homeless. Their situations are a result of abuse and family trauma.
The eight teenagers working with four women on stage, reveal stories that are tragic, hopeful, enlightening and often funny. Each of the kids and adults has a different range of problems and challenges to overcome.
To avoid their dad’s violence, Clyde and his sister live in a tent by the river with their mum, Grace. They are hungry, unshowered and exhausted and are taunted at school for their dirty clothes.
When Barney’s Nana dies, his much older sister, Zena, a police officer, returns to town to try to look after him. Johnny, with the help of Trina, the School Youth Support Officer, ditches his criminal behaviour and returns to school.
Bert, the son of a heroin addict, is fostered by his teacher, a former junkie. Bert resorts to getting stoned daily. Ebony is a persistent runaway from many foster homes but now she lives with Trina and her daughter, Savannah, who escaped from Trina’s violent husband.
Many of the subjects were abused as children and their anti-social behaviour is a reaction to this abuse. The circumstances of the young people and their mentors are just examples of the many kids in trouble in our environment.
The stories are peppered by songs that are revealing, tragic or celebratory and there is plenty of humour and well-observed characters. The story of the boys trying to seduce girls in the park is hilarious.
Catch a Star demonstrates that, with early intervention and support, young people can find success, love and joy and pathways back to education. Highwater Theatre aims to help break the cycle of abuse, violence, addictions, institutionalisation and poverty through an intensive arts-based education programme.
By Kate Herbert

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