Jurrungu Ngan-ga / Straight Talk

About the production

Throbbing with sadness, anger, joy and resistance Jurrungu Ngan-ga is a powerful and provocative new dance, sound and installation work that interrogates our capacity to lock away and isolate that which we fear. Jurrungu Ngan-ga confronts Australia’s shameful fixation with incarceration by connecting outrageous levels of Indigenous imprisonment to the indefinite detaining of asylum seekers. Set within “the prison of the mind of Australia” the exceptionally talented dancers perform as figments of the Australian psyche. Individually and collectively they draw on cultural and community experience to move deftly between horror, truth telling, and bodily resistance. Marrugeku’s unique intersectional choreography channels the impact of ‘denial under pressure’, colonial haunting and government sanctioned brutality. Searing truths blend with dark humour, fear, sadness and courage to shine a light on new ways to resist and abolish.

Jurrungu Ngan-ga is inspired by perspectives on incarceration shared with Marrugeku by Yawuru leader Patrick Dodson, Iranian-Australian scholar-activist Omid Tofighian as well as Kurdish-Iranian writer and former Manus Island detainee Behrouz Boochani. This mesmerising multimedia dance theatre piece designed by leading West Australian visual artist Abdul-Rahman Abdullah combines movement, spoken word, installation and a powerful musical soundscape to ask: who really is in prison here?

Throbbing with sadness, anger, joy and resistance Jurrungu Ngan-ga is a powerful and provocative new dance, sound and installation work that interrogates our capacity to lock away and isolate that which we fear. Jurrungu Ngan-ga confronts Australia’s shameful fixation with incarceration by connecting outrageous levels of Indigenous imprisonment to the indefinite detaining of asylum seekers. Set within “the prison of the mind of Australia” the exceptionally talented dancers perform as figments of the Australian psyche. Individually and collectively they draw on cultural and community experience to move deftly between horror, truth telling, and bodily resistance. Marrugeku’s unique intersectional choreography channels the impact of ‘denial under pressure’, colonial haunting and government sanctioned brutality. Searing truths blend with dark humour, fear, sadness and courage to shine a light on new ways to resist and abolish.

Jurrungu Ngan-ga is inspired by perspectives on incarceration shared with Marrugeku by Yawuru leader Patrick Dodson, Iranian-Australian scholar-activist Omid Tofighian as well as Kurdish-Iranian writer and former Manus Island detainee Behrouz Boochani. This mesmerising multimedia dance theatre piece designed by leading West Australian visual artist Abdul-Rahman Abdullah combines movement, spoken word, installation and a powerful musical soundscape to ask: who really is in prison here?

  • Venues and Dates

    2022

    Hamburg, Germany
    17–20 August

    Berlin, Germany
    5–7 August

    Venice, Italy
    BIENNALE DANZA 2022
    Arsenale — Teatro alle Tese (III)
    30 & 31 July

    Carriageworks
    27–29 January

    Free Community Performances

    Kununurra Picture Gardens | Kununurra
    7–8 April

    Fitzroy Valley District High School | Fitzroy Crossing
    13–14 April

    Derby Recreation Centre | Derby
    20–21 April

    Arts House, Rising Festival | Melbourne
    1-11 June

    2021

    Broome Civic Centre | Broome
    30 April – 1 May

    2022

    Hamburg, Germany
    17–20 August

    Berlin, Germany
    5–7 August

    Venice, Italy
    BIENNALE DANZA 2022
    Arsenale — Teatro alle Tese (III)
    30 & 31 July

    Carriageworks
    27–29 January

    Free Community Performances

    Kununurra Picture Gardens | Kununurra
    7–8 April

    Fitzroy Valley District High School | Fitzroy Crossing
    13–14 April

    Derby Recreation Centre | Derby
    20–21 April

    Arts House, Rising Festival | Melbourne
    1-11 June

    2021

    Broome Civic Centre | Broome
    30 April – 1 May

  • Creative Team

    Jurrungu Ngan-ga is collaboratively created by:

    Concept: Dalisa Pigram and Rachael Swain with Patrick Dodson
    Choreography: Dalisa Pigram with the performers
    Direction: Rachael Swain
    Performance Dramaturgy: Hildegard de Vuyst
    Cultural Dramaturgy: Behrouz Boochani, Patrick Dodson, Omid Tofighian
    Music: Sam Serruys, Paul Charlier and Rhyan Clapham (aka DOBBY)
    Sound Design: Sam Serruys and Paul Charlier
    Scenic Design: Abdul-Rahman Abdullah
    Costume Design: Andrew Treloar
    Lighting Design: Damien Cooper

    Co-devising Performers: Czack (Ses) Bero, Emmanuel James Brown, Chandler Connell, Luke Currie-Richardson, Issa el Assaad, Macon Riley, Bhenji Ra, Feras Shaheen and Miranda Wheen

    Jurrungu Ngan-ga is collaboratively created by:

    Concept: Dalisa Pigram and Rachael Swain with Patrick Dodson
    Choreography: Dalisa Pigram with the performers
    Direction: Rachael Swain
    Performance Dramaturgy: Hildegard de Vuyst
    Cultural Dramaturgy: Behrouz Boochani, Patrick Dodson, Omid Tofighian
    Music: Sam Serruys, Paul Charlier and Rhyan Clapham (aka DOBBY)
    Sound Design: Sam Serruys and Paul Charlier
    Scenic Design: Abdul-Rahman Abdullah
    Costume Design: Andrew Treloar
    Lighting Design: Damien Cooper

    Co-devising Performers: Czack (Ses) Bero, Emmanuel James Brown, Chandler Connell, Luke Currie-Richardson, Issa el Assaad, Macon Riley, Bhenji Ra, Feras Shaheen and Miranda Wheen

  • Reviews

    The Australian

    Deborah Jones
    30 Jan 2022

    The straight talking that gives Marrugeku’s new work its title gets a solid workout in the hands of Bhenji Ra. She demands a platform to strut on and special lighting, which Abdul-Rahman Abdullah’s marvellously economical set fortunately can provide. You have some opinions about Ra? Well she has some about you and won’t take a
    read more…

    Sydney Morning Herald

    Jill Sykes
    28 Jan 2022

    Rating: four and a half stars. Diversity is a word that gets a lot of use these days. But rarely do we get the chance to see and experience it so convincingly in a performance, as we do in Marrugeku’s Jurrungu Ngan-ga [Straight Talk]. This is an astonishing work in many ways. It tackles two
    read more…

    Limelight Magazine

    Jo Litson
    27 Jan 2022

    Dance as resistance. Challenging yet joyful, Jurrungu Ngan-ga — meaning ‘straight talk’— is a provocative new dance theatre work by Marrugeku which confronts Australia’s shameful fixation with incarceration. The mesmerising multimedia production is a frank conversation with the Australian psyche, exposing the deep-seated fears holding us back from truth and justice. Inspired by perspectives on
    read more…

    Artshub

    Kate Rendell
    12 May 2021

    A potent, superbly executed work that pulsates with sadness and rage, resilience and joy. It feels almost reductive to put into words an experience as visceral as Jurrungu Ngan-ga, the new production by the intercultural and interdisciplinary company Marrugeku. A hybrid work of contemporary dance, spoken word, multi-media and sound design, Jurrungu Ngan-ga is a
    read more…

  • Gallery
  • Supporters

    Commissioning Partners
    Jurrungu Ngan-ga [Straight Talk] was co-commissioned by Carriageworks, International Summer Festival Kampnagel, Hamburg (in the frame of “Exile Today – Production Residences for Artists” by Kampnagel and Körber-Stiftung), the City of Melbourne through Arts House.

    Funding Partners
    Marrugeku is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body and the Indigenous Language and Arts Program and is supported by the WA State Government through the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries and Create NSW, the Nelson Meers Foundation and the Körber Foundation.

A potent, superbly executed work that pulsates with sadness and rage, resilience and joy.

Kate Rendell