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Voice of the Land Archive 1-9
Voice of the Land - Volume 7

Our Languages Are the Voice of the Land

The FATSIL NEWSLETTER JANUARY, 1998
ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER CORPORATION OF LANGUAGES
VOLUME 07

Voice of the Land Archive 1-9
Bradley Byquar in the Festival of the Dreaming production - Ngundalelah Godatgai (Waiting for Godot)
Festival's Bundjalung presentation a world first

Audiences who attended the Sydney Festival of the Dreaming in September were the first to see a play translated and performed in an Aboriginal language. Samuel Beckett's Ngundalelah Godatgai (Waiting for Godot) was translated into Bundjalung by Elders from the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales. The translation was supervised by Mick Walker, who spoke to audiences at each performance about this unusual meeting between western ideology and one of the oldest cultures on Earth.

Beckett's play deals with the frustration of his two central characters, stranded in a barren landscape and forced to grapple with abstract concepts of time.

Director Clara Mason saw in this theme a correlation with the position of the Bundjalung people, who while interpreting Beckett's work, were still confronting aspects of their own exile in western culture.

With no specific words for past or present in the Bundjalung language, the group members were required not only to translate, but to interpret the script into equivalent Aboriginal concepts. It was then recorded in the Galibal dialect of the Clarence River region.

The performers included Anthony Gordon and Roy Gordon, both members of the Goobah Goobah Theatre Group in Lismore, Bradley Byquar from Brisbane, a member of the Gubbi Gubbi nation of Bribie Island and Max Cullen, who worked with Black Theatre in Redfern in the 1960s and learned Bundjalung for his role in the production.

The first of four Olympic Arts Festivals involved the participation of over 700 indigenous artists in presentations of dance, theatre, music and story telling. A number of these projects will be included in the three Festivals scheduled to be staged in the lead up to the 2000 Olympics.

Photo reproduced with the permission of the S.O.C.O.G.