My hope is to challenge contemporary notions of resilience; that one must ‘overcome’ in a big or dramatic way. By reaching out to people on the fringes of society and bringing to light their narratives, I hope to create a work that speaks to the whole rather than the few.
Written and performed by Mararo Wangai, joined on stage by live musician Mahamudo Selimane, Black Brass is a two-hander that takes place over the course of one night in a music studio. Whilst cleaning the studio, ‘Sleeper’ finds his past rekindled by ‘Trumpet’s’ recording session. This stranger who only speaks through music – half griot, half oracle – interrupts his evening. The exchange that follows unlocks a window that sets both on a journey between a fictionalized African country, and present-day Australia. Through flashback narrative, and music, moments of darkness are tempered by traversing voice, joyful songs and silence as they hurtle towards the pivotal decision that must be made come sunrise.
In the wake of Black Lives Matter, and the public discussion around representation – around opportunity and freedom, Black Brass gives voice to the marginalized. Offering an intimate and nuanced window into the lives of many groups within and beyond Perth who must tap into huge reserves of resilience every day to stay afloat and to keep moving forward. We do not hear much about these voices, about the energy required to get through each day. They only seem to be given space after extreme incidents occur – white supremacist rallies, police brutality, election propaganda, etc. In highlighting one journey, Black Brass celebrates those that continue to walk this fine line between a present that struggles to accept and a past that refuses to let go. And in doing so, makes space for voices whose stories are equal parts vulnerable, resilient and worthy.