A queer Darwin man of Papua New Guinean descent goes on a journey of self discovery in “Bastard Territory”, the new show from the Queensland Theatre Company.
Bastard Territory begins in 2001 Darwin, as Russell and his partner Alistair finish transforming Russell’s childhood home into the “Tectonic Plate”: a hip urban café and art gallery by day, queer cabaret dive by night.
But ghosts from Russell’s past begin to intrude on his present, and he embarks on a quest to discover his identity that takes him back to his childhood world, bohemian 70s Darwin and 60s Papua New Guinea where his parents Lois and Neville conceived him, overlaid with a soundtrack featuring Suzi Quatro, Shirley Bassey and Nana Mouskouri.
The show is by Darwin-raised and Brisbane-based writer Stephen Carleton.
“Russell’s quest is a personal one; to determine his own patrilineal identity, but his journey is a metaphor for the role North Australia has in determining the nation’s identity, and Australia’s place in this region of the world,” Stephen said.
Director Ian Lawson said Bastard Territory is one of Stephen’s finest works, a “sweeping family saga” and a slice of “Australia’s social-political history”.
“Bastard Territory spans time periods, countries and realities. Yet it is grounded in the simple need of a man for answers that make sense of his past, affirm his present and enable a future,” Ian said.
“Combining Stephen’s idiosyncratic and flawed characters, complex plotting and thematic adventure with unapologetically theatrical grandeur – magic even – Stephen has created something very special – I think Tennessee Williams would approve.”