Director Isaac Drandic opens the program by saying, ‘Anyone who has ever been in love can access this work’. I can’t think of a better way to introduce ‘Blood on the Dance Floor‘ by ILBIJERRI Theatre Company.
I am a fan of non-fiction theatre — no, that sounds too dry.
I will start again.
I am a fan of stories that are told from the heart, stories that are honest. Raw and vulnerable theatre is refreshing at a time when we so often see adaptations of classic texts or adaptations from screen to stage.
I love the feeling of watching ‘real’ theatre. Jacob Boehme does exactly this. Jacob shares his story of being Blak, gay, and HIV poz. He tells this story through drag, dance, projection imagery and ceremony. His story is tragic and hopeful at the same time.
The performance is sensitive yet unapologetic, which is what makes Jacob’s performance so fantastic. The audience is led on a journey through the highs and lows of Jacob’s life. The opening drag performance serves two purposes: it gives context and humour to HIV history. I appreciated this gentle opening as a way to become familiar with topics that I have little knowledge of. I believe that my lack of knowledge is an example of why Jacob’s performance is essential in raising awareness of the struggles and discrimination that Aboriginals, homosexuals, and those with HIV face today.
‘Blood on the Dance Floor’ is something that needs to be toured nationally and internationally. It’s a story that shows the dark sides of Australian history while also showing that we have humanity and strength to move forwards. This is REAL theatre, and Australia needs more of it!
Thank you Jacob, Drandic, and choreographer Mariaa Randall for bringing an important story to the Melbourne stage.
Amber B. is a freelance stage manager that is excited to keep you up to date with Melbourne’s best theatre.
Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of Starling Communications.
Photo credit: Bryony Jackson.