‘Whose Gonna Love ‘Em? I am that I AM’ written and directed by Kamarra Bell-Wykes is a post-traumatic masterpiece, winning the 2021 Patrick White Playwriting Award.
Starring Maggie Church-Kopp, Corey Saylor-Brunskill and Maurial Spearim accompanied by smallsound with a live improvisational score, Whose Gonna Love ‘Em? I am that I AM is an absurd group therapy session held somewhere in the deepest cells of the collective mind.
A one-act three hander utilising text and movement cycles to create a hypnotising interrogation of trauma, how to move through it, and the difficulty of healing intergenerational wounds on colonised land. It is about grief. How it is held and remembered physically and psychologically; how it becomes written in the DNA of those who experience it, how it evolves us and we it, individually and collectively, across all possible timelines.
Abandoning Western constructs of meaning such as linear narrative, fixed place and individual character the performance is a thesis ceremony. A transformative intersection of text, movement, images, rhythms, ritual and live score, masterfully structured to convey rage, grief, ancestral resilience and the ultimate remembering of our eternal selves as universal beings of light.
The performance shows how this operates at a cellular level to dissect the shadow wound of humanity’s collective heart, cleansing out the toxic pus and redressing it anew. It is challenging, unique, ambitious in its vision and approach to theatricality. The words are written to be spoken aloud, it’s ritualistic, a piece that insists on being experienced in a room of people, it’s a piece that offers the hope of some kind of collective truth-telling and healing.
This production will feature mature themes including:
- Stylised physical, emotional and psychological violence.
- References to themes sensitive themes including mental health, suicide, racism, intergenerational trauma and sexual references.
- Coarse language.
All Neighbourhood tickets are purchased via each venue’s website. To make ticket purchases, click on the ‘Get your tickets’ link, and you will automatically be redirected.
[Image credit: Tiffany Garvie]
Meet the Artists
Kamarra Bell-Wykes (Yagera/Butchulla) is a playwright, director, dramaturge, devisor, facilitator, performer, producer, curator, community developer and education consultant. Her transformative practice is highly sought after, delivering innovative research, resources and acclaimed performances. Kamarra served as ILBIJERRI’s Education and Learning Manager and later Creative Director from 2014-2018 and has been a Malthouse Resident Artist since 2020. Kamarra’s writing/directing credits include Because the Night, (Malthouse) CHASE (A Daylight Connection/Malthouse/Hothouse) The Score, Scar Trees, Viral, North West of Nowhere, Body Armour, Chopped Liver, Shrunken Iris (ILBIJERRI), Crying Shame (Next Wave) and Mother’s Tongue (Yirra Yaakin). Kamarra received the 2021 Patrick White Playwrighting Award (STC) for her work Whose Gonna Love ‘Em? I am that i AM (FCAC/ILBIJERRI).
Kamarra recently joined forces with a motley crew of like-minded artists to form A DAYLIGHT CONNECTION, an experimental and revolutionary arts collective dedicated to smashing artistic, societal and existential binaries.Small Sound (Sound and Production Design) Read more +
Small Sound is the most recent creative incarnation of Melbourne born and based multi-form artist and multi-instrumentalist and Quandamooka man, Andrew James. Creating, composing and performing original music, sets and sculptural space in response to independent dance, theatre and film works for over twenty years has been not just a privilege, but an inevitable evolution.
Past work for other companies and individuals include: The Malthouse, Hothouse Theatre, MTC, Ilbijerri, Farmwalker Films, Blackbox Media, Human Sacrifice Theatre, Eagles Nest Theatre and Chimene Steele-Prior.”Maggie Church-Kopp (Actor) Read more +
Maggie is a circus performer, actor and facilitator who was raised in Mparntwe and is proudly of Arrernte and British descent.
She inherited circus as an art form at a young age and has loved it ever since. Most recently, she has performed with Na Djinang Circus in the Greenroom Award winning production of “Arterial” (Yirramboi 2021, Cirqfest 2022), and has worked as a participant in Na Djinang’s Making Tracks Development Program. She has also performed independently at a range of festivals including Woodford Folk Festival.
Maggie first experienced theatre in 2013 when she was cast as a principal character in the Arrernte led music-theatre production “Bungalow Song”. She now works with Ilbijerri Theatre company as an ensemble member and facilitator.
Having trained with companies such as Circus Oz, The Flying Fruit Fly Circus (NTP 2019), and Duprada Dance Company Maggie is greatly passionate about the ways in which storytelling and movement can foster and enrich communities.Maurial Spearim (Actor) Read more +
Maurial is a Gamilaraay, Kooma, Muruwari woman who draws strength from her connection to Country and People. A VCA and Melbourne University Graduate with a Bachelor of Dramatic art, she is an actor, writer and singer interested in exploring theatre, song and dance through the expressions of the body and the utterance of the voice, where artforms are combined to create a story evocative of past, present and future.
Maurial has featured in Neighbours 2021, Emu Runner 2018, Wentworth 2013/15, Redfern Now 2015, Cybec Electric Melbourne Theatre Company 2021, 10in10 Ilbijerri Theatre company 2021, a Green Room Award nominee Independent Female Performer in Elbow Room’s ‘We Get It’ staged at Melbourne Theatre Company 2016Corey Saylor Brunskill (Actor) Read more +
Corey is Meriam/European Actor who grew up on the picturesque lands of Tasmania. He is actively engaged in expressing his social truths through stand-up comedy, spoken word and lyricism. He is the recipient of an MTC First Nations Scholarship and member of the Ilbijerri Theatre Company. In addition to his work with Ilbijerri, Corey has performed on the stages of MTC, Meat Market and Arts Centre, Melbourne. Corey has been directed by the iconic Rachel Maza in Conversations with the Dead and Maryanne Sam in Coconut Woman and for the Yirramboi Festival 2021. Corey’s blend of unapologetic truths and undercurrent of vulnerability fuels his penchant for playing the anti-hero or misunderstood.
Corey can be seen on screen in the short film Viral (2022) directed by Kamarra Bell-Wykes, and this will be his third time working with the living legend herself.Gina Gascoigne ( Lighting Design) Read more +