Perth is about to be treated to an extraordinary collaboration from some of the heaviest hitters in local hip hop, tackling an issue that keeps them up at night: crystal meth.
Downsyde, Layla, Moana Mayatrix, Zac James, Kyle J Morrison and Trooth have devised the hip h’opera ‘Ice Land’ through one of Australia’s leading Aboriginal performing arts organisations, Yirra Yaakin (Yir-raarh Yaarh-kin) which means “Stand Tall” in Noongar language.
Yirra Yaakin’s latest offering is not pulling any punches.
The production is based on testimonials from users, carers and family members, shaped into a full-length theatre performance using hip hop as the key musical and philosophical drive.
Director Kyle J Morrison said the process had been intense, but the result is powerful.
“We explore the journey of ice addiction in all its states, including happiness, invincibility and clarity, through to despair, fear, psychosis and, ultimately, the breakdown of our communities – their ruin,” he said.
“We ask the question, ‘If meth use continues to escalate within our communities, what is going to happen to our society as a whole?’”
He said having Andrew Bovell on board as dramaturg and mentor had been an incredible advantage.
Librettist Zac James said the richness of the project came from having a shared goal.
“Meth in our community is like a silent invader corrupting people of all walks,” he said.
“In a way, writing Ice Land: A Hip h’Opera has been the most organic experience I’ve had due to the fact we are all on the same team working towards the same goal, claiming our community back from the plague of methamphetamine use.”
Yirra Yaakin has been committed to sharing Aboriginal stories through contemporary, award-winning, world-class theatre since 1993.
The show runs 15-26 October at the Subiaco Arts Centre.
To find out more, visit Yirra Yaakin for booking information.
Image credit: Yirra Yaakin