WOMEN OF TROY
Presented by Archipelago Productions and Ten Days on the Island in association with Theatre Royal.
8 Mar Wed 7:30 pm
9 Mar Thu 11:00 am – Schools Performance
9 Mar Thu 7:30 pm
10 Mar Fri 7:30 pm
11 Mar Sat 2:00 pm
11 Mar Sat 7:30 pm
12 Mar Sun 2:00 pm
12 Mar Sun 7:30 pm
FULL PRICE: $95
FULL PRICE: $85
FULL PRICE: $75
C RESERVE/GALLERY SEATING
FULL PRICE: $60
Transaction fees apply
Auslan Session – Thursday 9 March, 7:30pm – 9:00pm
When booking your ticket, you will find Auslan-viewable seating in the seating map’s bottom-left corner.
Audio Description – Thursday 9 March, 7:30pm – 9:00pm
Audio description services can be booked by contacting Ten Days directly. Please note that availability is limited.
Tactile Tour – Thursday 9 March, 7:30pm – 9:00pm
Positions on a Tactile Tour can be booked by contacting Ten Days directly. Please note that availability is limited.
A hearing loop is available for all shows at this venue. Please visit the Theatre Royal venue page here for more information.
Baby Changing Facilities
Baby changing tables and waste bins are available within all accessible bathrooms, located behind the bar on each foyer level.
All accessible bathrooms are gender-neutral and located behind the bar on each foyer level.
Level access to seating is available in the stalls when booking aisle seats on the left side of the map, with seat numbers starting at 1.
All public levels of this venue are accessible by use of a lift, located in the main entry (corner of Campbell and Collins Streets), to the left of the stairs. Accessible bathrooms are available on levels 2, 3 and 4, located behind the bar on each foyer level. Seating for people who use wheelchairs is available in the Stalls and Dress Circle.
More information on Theatre Royal here.
Women of Troy is suitable for ages 15 years and over.
Extreme language warning and depictions of violence.
Ten Days on the Island is closely following and implementing all restrictions and recommendations advised by National and State Governments regarding public gatherings and event venues, you can find the relevant government information here.
We, as well as the venue will be managing the risk of COVID-19 at our event venues in the following ways:
- Public availability of hand sanitiser at Festival venues.
- Patrons, staff, volunteers and artists are encouraged not to attend events if they are unwell.
Euripides, adapted by Barrie Kosky and Tom Wright
Troy is in ruin. The men slaughtered. The women, prisoners, recoil behind wire, fearing their fate, longing for death. Memories and prophecies haunt their Queen, Hecuba: hallucinogenic visions of her daughter Cassandra; her grieving daughter-in-law Andromache, and the one mighty woman behind the whole bloody catastrophe, Helen.
Euripides’ timeless play is a brutal tale of Athens’ invasion and enslavement of the people of Melos. In a radical twist for Western theatre it was told not from the perspective of the conquerors, but that of the survivors. Giving voice to the vanquished was a revolution: seizing centre stage from Gods, heroes and Royalty, and claiming it for the displaced.
Archipelago’s fierce new production of Women Of Troy, adapted by Tom Wright and Barrie Kosky, with a stellar cast that includes Sarah Peirse, Jane Johnson, Marta Dusseldorp, Angela Mahlatjie and Guy Hooper, directed by Ben Winspear and features a new score by Katie Noonan, libretto by Behrouz Boochani, and community chorus of women and children.
With displaced people now at record numbers globally, Women Of Troy interrogates what we have learned and lost and how, in war, it is the women and children who suffer the most.
Director – Ben Winspear
Design – LIMINAL Spaces
Lighting designer – Nick Schlieper
Choral Composer – Katie Noonan
Chorus text – Behrouz Boochani
Chorus director – Amanda Hodder
Australia for UNHCR donation link
Australia for UNHCR is the UN Refugee Agency’s partner in Australia, raising funds and awareness to support refugees and displaced people around the world. With an unprecedented 103 million people now displaced globally – mostly women and children – your support is needed more than ever. Australia for UNHCR is grateful to the team from Women of Troy for its support. Funds raised will deliver life-saving aid to women and children fleeing the war in Ukraine. Your donation can provide safe shelter, cash assistance and psychosocial support to families in need.
Donate now: https://www.unrefugees.org.au/women-of-troy/
WOMEN OF TROY – FERMENTING DISSENT
11 MAR SAT 4PM
Ian Potter Recital Hall
The role of women in leading civil uprisings and revolts has been well documented. From Boudicca to the 17th and 18th century food riots, to the suffragette movement to Iran, Ukraine and #meToo, women have been at the heart of community uprising and social change. Archipelago’s Women of Troy celebrates and extends the Euripides play to recognise the contemporary realties of fighting oppression and grass roots change, ultimately reflecting Marx’s observation the “great social revolutions are impossible without the feminine ferment”.
Marta Dusseldorp Producer/Artist, Women of Troy, Archipelago Productions
Behrouz Boochani Journalist, human rights defender, writer, Women of Troy
Prof Kate Darian Smith Pro Vice-Chancellor, College of Arts, Law and Education, University of Tasmania
For more information on The Hedberg Talks see here.
Cast and Creatives Biographies
Sarah Peirse is one of New Zealand and Australia’s most respected and awarded actresses.
Sarah began acting in the late 1970s. On screen she has made a habit of avoiding formula projects, often working with emerging directors who demonstrate a fresh eye: Vincent Ward on The Navigator, Peter Jackson on Heavenly Creatures, Christine Jeffs on Rain. For Peirse, the result has been an impressive body of awards and nominations.
Sarah studied drama in Auckland followed by extended periods in Australia and the UK, performing for the Melbourne and Sydney Theatre Companies, Belvoir, and in New Zealand; Auckland Theatre Company, Mercury Theatre, and Theatre Corporate.
Her most recent theatre credits include STC’s A Cheery Soul, STC/MTC’s The Children, Belvoir’s Mark Colvin’s Kidney and STC’s Switzerland.
Her television credits include the Foxtel/Binge series Love Me, acclaimed ABC/Netflix drama Stateless, Netflix series Sweet Tooth, ABC/Netflix comedy The Letdown, Network Ten’s Offspring, and MTV’s The Shannara Chronicles. In 2023 she will feature in the Acorn TV/TVNZ series Under the Vines with Rebecca Gibney.
Her recent film credits include Nude Tuesday, Mortal Engines, The Hobbit Trilogy, and award-winning performances in Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures, Christine Jeffs’ Rain and Vincent Ward’s The Navigator.
Jane is an actress and director and has worked with organisations including; Archipelago Productions, Tasmanian Theatre Company, Blue Cow Theatre, Mudlark, Tasdance, Theatre North, Ten Days on the Island, Tasmania Performs, Terrapin Puppet Theatre, The Unconformity, Tasmanian Regional Arts, The Australian Script Centre and JUTE. Jane was a founding member and co-artistic director of Mudlark Theatre (for whom she is currently an Artistic Associate) and was the founder of Launceston Youth Theatre Ensemble.
Acting credits include: The Winter’s Tale (Blue Cow), The Bleeding Tree (Archipelago/Blue Cow), The Mares (TTC/Ten Days on the Island), The Tree Widows, Two Pairs of Shorts (TTC) as well as countless creative developments and script readings. She has directed I Am A Lake, Café (Mudlark), Chasing a Sound Like Rain (Ten Days on the Island/LYTE) and A Number (CentrStage) and has years of experience as associate and rehearsal director for Tasmanian productions.
Jane was the joint 2020 recipient of the Tasmanian Theatre Award for Outstanding Performance in Professional Theatre for The Mares (Tasmanian Theatre Company and Ten Days on the Island).
Award-winning actress Marta Dusseldorp has worked extensively in theatre, film and television for over 30 years and is one of Australia’s most recognised actresses.
Marta received the AACTA Award for Best Lead Actress in a TV Drama for ABC’s Janet King in which she plays the title role and was also an Associate Producer. She starred in the popular series A Place to Call Home for Foxtel and in the ABC series Jack Irish opposite Guy Pearce for which she has been nominated multiple times for AACTA and TV Week Logie Awards in Lead Actress categories. She most recently featured in The Twelve for FOXTEL and is the lead in Bay Of Fires due for release in 2023 on ABC.
Marta has a wealth of experience on stage including being a member of Sydney Theatre Company’s Actor’s Company where she received a Helpmann Award for her role in Shakespeare’s War of the Roses. She has worked with all the major theatre companies in Australia. Most recently she starred to great acclaim in STC’s The Deep Blue Sea, Gloria for the Griffin Theatre, for which she won the Sydney Theatre Award for Best Lead Actress and in Archipelago Productions’ of The Bleeding Tree By Angus Cerini and Jean Genet’s The Maids.
Marta is the Director of Archipelago Productions in lutruwita/Tasmania. She has co-created Bay Of Fires with Andrew Knight and Max Dann. The eight part television series mainly shot on the West Coast of Tasmania will be premiering on ABCTV this year.
Angela was born in Botswana, Southern Africa and moved with her family to a small mining town in the Pilbara, WA. She was determined to become an actress and is a graduate of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA). She has appeared on stage and screen, most recently in Pieces of Her for Netflix, Itch and The Heights on ABCMe and ABCTV.
She has performed with the Sydney Theatre Company and the Tempest Theatre as well as contributing her voice to the United Nations 75th Anniversary Global Conversation campaign.
Guy has been a performer, deviser, director and teacher of theatre for over 35 years, working in Sydney, Melbourne, regional New South Wales, Victoria and most recently Tasmania.
He was an ensemble member of Death Defying Theatre, Circus Oz, and The Murray River Performing Group, before pursuing a career as an award winning freelance actor. Guy has a Bachelor of Arts from Sydney University (English) with Honours (Theatre) from La Trobe University and has trained as a performer at Philippe Gaulier’s London school. Guy was the lecturer in Theatre and Drama at La Trobe University from 2001 to 2007, Albury Wodonga and currently teaches theatre at the University of Tasmania in the School of Creative Arts and Media.
Chris co-founded The Telluride Repertory Theatre Company (THE REP) in Telluride, Colorado in 1990. Performing numerous roles from the classical canon with Macbeth, Petruchio and Tartuffe proving highlights, he played the titular role in THE REP’s adaptation of F.W Murnau’s NOSFERATU which toured to NYC and India in 2000.
TV credits include roles on Beaconsfield, Winner’s and Loser’s, Underbelly (Tell Them Lucifer Was Here), Killing Time, Bed of Roses and Neighbours and his film credits include Crime & Punishment, Cut Snake, Predestination, Vessel, Cryptopticon, 3 Dollars, The Independent, Em 4 Jay and Scrapple.
Chris trained at Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre in Blue Lake, California as well as studying with revered acting coaches, Ivana Chubbuck and Larry Moss. From 2013 – 2016 he produced and performed in Boy Out of The Country by Felix Nobis which toured to critical acclaim at 45 Downstairs, Melbourne and across Victoria.
A promising young actor from Hobart, Harrison is dedicated to his craft. He is passionate about exploring the human condition through acting. He believes that the stage provides a unique opportunity to step into the shoes of another person and consider their life experiences.
Ben Winspear Director
As a director Ben has steered a number of new productions for Sydney Theatre Company, where he was Resident Director for three years including Morph, These People, This Little Piggy, Metamorphosis and Thyestes. He also co-directed Victory. Other productions include Saved (NIDA), Insect!, Pantagleize, and Monkey (UNSW), Macbeth, King Lear, The Tempest (STC) and Monkey (Big Monkey), The Gardens of Paradise (Ten Days on the Island), Silver (Downstairs Belvoir), Gruesome Playground Injuries (Tas Theatre Co), 12 Times He Spoke (Blue Cow).
As Associate Artist for Griffin Theatre he was Associate Director on Gloria, directed Feather in the Web, and for three years was responsible for running the artist development programs there.
For Archipelago Productions he has conceived of and directed Venus and Adonis, The Masque of the Red Death (a co-pro with MONA FOMA), The Bleeding Tree, Winterreise, The Maids, and Past the Shallows (a co-pro with ATYP), as well as adapting /directing Favel Parrett’s novel Past the Shallows as an experimental feature length film. Ben was also the director’s attachment for episodes 1 – 4 on the Archipelago/Fremantle TV production Bay of Fires and has just completed a short film as part of the Grit Project run by Wide Angle Tasmania, and will be directing the upcoming The Carbon Neutral Adventures of the Indefatigable Enviroteens by First Dog On the Moon.
Behrouz Boochani Lyrics
Behrouz Boochani is an award-winning Kurdish-Iranian writer, journalist, scholar, cultural advocate and filmmaker. His memoir No Friend But the Mountains (Pan Macmillan 2018, trans. Omid Tofighian) was written during his seven years of incarceration by the Australian government in Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island prison. His new book, Freedom, Only Freedom, will be published by Bloomsbury in November 2022.
Amir Ahmadi Arian Translator
Amir Ahmadi Arian started his writing career as a journalist in Iran in 2000. He has published two novels, a collection of stories, and a book of nonfiction in Persian. He also translated from English to Persian novels by E.L Doctorow, Paul Auster, P.D. James, and Cormac McCarthy.
Amir left Iran in 2011 to undertake a PhD in comparative literature at the University of Queensland, Australia.
Since 2014 he has been writing exclusively in English. In this phase of his career, he has published short stories and essays in The New York Times, New York Review of Books, Paris Review, LRB, Lithub, Massachusetts Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, etc.
Amir is currently living in New York City where he earned an MFA in the NYU Creative Writing Program as The Axinn Foundation/E.L. Doctorow Fellowship recipient of 2016 – 2018. Now he is teaching literature and creative writing at CUNY City College and Baruch College, New York. His first novel in English, Then The Fish Swallowed Him, was published by HarperVia/HarperCollins in March 2020.
Katie Noonan Choral Composer
Over the past 20 years, five-time ARIA award-winning artist Katie Noonan has proven herself one of Australia’s most hardworking, versatile and prolific artists. Named one of the greatest Australian singers of all time by the Herald Sun, Katie has produced 21 albums throughout her career, with seven times platinum record sales under her belt and 28 ARIA award nominations that span diverse genres.
Her curiosity and passion often leads her to transcend the medium of music – Katie has collaborated on multi-disciplinary works from ballet and contemporary dance to live art and circus. In 2021, Noonan was voted in the Top 50 Jazz Artists of all time by ABC Classic voters and was the only Australian woman in the ARIA Top Ten Jazz & Blues albums of 2021 and also won the 2021 AIR Best Independent Jazz Album for her 20th Studio album The Sweetest Taboo. She was the first Western woman ever to sing in the Forbidden City in Beijing and the first Queenslander to take the reigns as Artistic Director at Queensland Music Festival in 2015, not to mention the youngest person ever to take on the role.
An unrelenting advocate for the arts, the APRA ambassador is constantly championing its vitality and growth across our rural towns and ever-changing cities. Katie’s recent creation – AVÉ Australian Vocal Ensemble – have already commissioned 40+ new works from Australian composers and will continue to champion Australian stories and sounds whilst engaging with First Nations artists and language. In the midst of owning her record company and working as an artistic director, Katie remains committed to what sets her artistry apart from the pack: her ability to evolve. Music, for Katie, is a lifelong lesson, a generous act of giving, and a means to change the world.
Amanda Hodder Chorus director
Described as “magic” by esteemed pianist and accompanist Malcolm Martineau, Amanda has worked as accompanist, vocal coach, pianist and music director with Opera Australia, OzOpera, VCA, Opera Queensland, Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Australian Musical Theatre Festival, Ten Days On The Island, Mona Foma and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.
A keen collaborator, Amanda has also acted as music director for brand new shows performed at Festival of Voices, Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Melbourne Cabaret Festival, Melbourne Comedy Festival and Junction Arts Festival. Amanda spent 2022 performing at Festival of Voices and the Australian Musical Theatre Festival, worked with children with ADHD to create a rock cabaret based on their lived experiences (funded by Arts Tasmania) and was invited for a third time to be resident at Performing Lines Tasmania’s creative residency in Tarraleah. In August 2021 Amanda collaborated with countertenor Nicholas Tolputt, director Benjamin Winspear and cinematographer Martin McGrath to create an immersive experience/performance of Schubert’s Winterreise, which resulted in a sellout season and a special award from the Tasmanian Theatre Council.
A passionate advocate for community group singing, Amanda runs the Hobart Glee Club, a zero-obligation choir that meets once a month. From 2011-2020 Amanda was Associate Lecturer in Accompaniment Studies at the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music. Amanda lives on the unceded lands of the Nuenonne people with her daughters Lily and Sophia.
Nick Schlieper Lighting Designer
Nick Schlieper has designed for all the major performing companies in Australia and works regularly internationally. One of Australia’s most highly awarded designers, he’s received seven Sydney Critic’s Awards (two for set design and 5 for lighting design), six Melbourne Green Room Awards and 5 Helpmann Awards.
Among his many productions for Sydney Theatre Co are The Tempest, Jekyll and Hyde, Dorian Gray, Playing Beatie Bow, Wonnangatta, Harp In The South, Chimerica, Macbeth, Arturo Ui, The War of the Roses, and set and lighting for Endgame, Face To Face and Baal. For Melbourne Theatre Co, his recent work includes As You Like It, Twelfth Night and set and lighting for Photograph 51, North by Northwest and Death and The Maiden. He has lit numerous productions for Opera Australia, Belvoir St and Bangarra.
International work includes productions for the Salzburg Festival, Hamburg State Opera, Bavarian State Opera, Royal Shakespeare Company, The Barbican London, Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg, Theater in der Josefstadt, Vienna, Schillertheater Berlin, State Theatre of Bavaria and The National Theatre of Norway; Hedda Gabler, Streetcar Named Desire, Uncle Vanya and The Maids in New York; The Present and Priscilla on Broadway; Love Never Dies in Hamburg, Tokyo, Sydney and Melbourne; Grossund Klein in Paris, London and Vienna.
Peta Heffernan and Elvio Brianese lead the globally acclaimed, design and architecture company, LIMINAL Studio. Underpinning the Studio’s philosophy is that collaborative design across disciplines drives innovative thinking. LIMINAL Spaces captures the boutique and performance design identity of the Studio, noted for
collaborations in contemporary performances, exhibitions, festivals and participation influencing cultural policy frameworks.
Guiding LIMINAL’s approach in performance is the aim of distilling meaning through the use of minimal forms, while creating multilayered, manipulable design elements that can support and heighten the theatrical experience, encouraging creative interaction in the development of the work from both the Artistic Director and the Performers.
Design awards include The Bleeding Tree, presented by Archipelago Productions in 2021, Dancenorth’s Dust, presented at the Sydney Festival and Ten Days on the Island in 2019 and the Brisbane Festival in 2018, Born from Animals, presented by the Tasmanian Theatre Company in 2015 and IHOS Opera’s The Barbarians, commissioned by Mona Foma in 2012.
Finn Carter Stage Manager
Finn Carter is a theatre and festival freelancer born and raised in Hobart, who, over the last eight years has worked on a wide array of theatre productions and arts projects. His productions of The Theory Of Relativity (Leiz Moore & Allan Jeffrey) and Spring Awakening (Old Nick Theatre Company) with Co-Director Jack Lark have earned multiple Tasmanian Theatre Award nominations. Having been involved in a variety of shows over the years as a stage manager, production manager, audio designer, performer and director, he has now also moved into working with multiple music and arts festivals across the state including Dark Mofo, Mona Foma and The Unconformity. His latest theatre credits were Enlightenment with Melbourne based (Elbow Room Theatre), and The Old Man and The Old Moon (Jack Lark) in 2021.
Milla Chaffer Assistant Stage Manager and Understudy
Milla is a Tasmanian festival and theatre freelancer who has been working in theatre for over four years both onstage and offstage. Her stage-managing credits include The Old Man and the Old Moon (Jack Lark Presents, 2021), Crave (The Theatre Closet, 2021), The 39 Steps (Hobart Repertory Theatre Society, 2022) and True West (SAM & JACOB Presents, 2022). As a performer, Milla has worked in improvised theatre with Protea Impro for the past year and featured in Hobart’s Festival of Improvised Theatre in April 2022. Milla will be understudying the role of Cassandra in this production. She is looking forward to her future work with Archipelago Productions performing in their next project; The Carbon Neutral Adventures of the Indefatigable Enviroteens.
Norreen La Motte Understudy
One of Tasmania’s most versatile veteran performers with a career spanning more than 60 years, Noreen has played an enviable variety of roles across all genres: drama, musical theatre, ballet, opera, music hall and theatre restaurant. On film and television she is credited as an actor, voice-over artist and puppeteer: in particular as the voice and puppeteer behind “Computer Cat” in the ABC Education television series, Hunter in the 1980s. However, her preference has always been for live theatre. To date she has performed in 103 major productions and has participated in many more in other capacities: stage manager, stage crew, scenic artist, properties officer, lighting operator and front-of-house manager. In 2005 Noreen was inducted into the Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women for her service to the arts and in 2018 was presented with the Tasmanian Theatre Council’s Lifetime
Caitlin Berwick Understudy
Caitlin Berwick is an actress, vocalist and writer. Caitlin has performed in new Australian works including ‘Ned Kelly, My Love’ by Xavier Brouwer, and ‘Jeannette’ in ‘RIOT’ by Thomas Ian Doyle – where she also composed the score. Catching the musical bug, Caitlin went on to compose original music and rearrange torch song classic hits for the first chapter in Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song Trilogy – ‘International Stud’. Having relocated to Hobart, Caitlin is writing her first long form drama series; she has understudied in Jean Genet’s ‘The Maids’ with Marta Dusseldorp and Essie Davis, ‘Women of Troy’ with Marta Dusseldorp, Sarah Peirse and a plethora of Tasmanian talent, before performing in the world premiere of First Dog on the Moon’s environmentally friendly production of The Carbon Neutral Adventures of The Indefatigable Enviroteens.
Poems written by Behrouz Boochani
Commissioned for Archipelago’s production of Women of Troy
Written by Behrouz Boochani
Translated by Amir Ahmadi Arian
With their green teeth
The wild horses grazed
Through the misty meadows.
The girls of the wind sauntered
Across the golden wheat fields.
The children built a pond of wood and mud
Around the orchard’s oldest walnut tree
To keep the water flowing around the trunk
They watch it seeping down to the deepest root
The village where it all happened
Is now razed to the ground
The dark clouds fell
The silvery maples fell
The fig trees dried out
The water of the stream turned red.
Only love made it out of the ruins
It crawled over the mountaintop
Down to the bottom of the valley
It touched the deepest depth of a cave
Held out through hunger and homelessness
Across minefield borders
All the way to the ocean, which lay untrammeled and pristine Its boats the last safe place in the world.
The waves pummel the boat
And the moon splits up on the ocean.
We have no fear, we shout, our arms locked Our dreams merging into a robe that cloaks the world. We have no fear of the ocean, we shout,
Just as we had no fear of the deserts
Just as we had no fear of the airports
Just as we had no fear of the borders.
You cannot drown those
Already drowned in their dreams.
Last night I escaped death.
I crossed minefields and barbed wires
I sneaked by patrols thudding their snow-covered boots I escaped death last night.
I took the mountain views in,
I took you in,
I took your lips in,
I took your eyes in,
I took your smile in.
I escaped death last night.
My feet trampled upon the fragments
Of my own body.
I miss her.
I am awake.
I am looking at the clouds,
I am looking at the face of a woman through the clouds
The woman who contains
A large fragment of me.
I miss her in this cage
As much as I will miss her in the next one.
I miss her on this island
As much as I will miss her on the next one.
I have a dream.
I dream of skipping across the clouds
Flying across the ocean
Jumping across the islands.
I miss her.
Forgive me, my bird, as I am not able to embrace you.
in this corner,
I know some immigrant birds. I smile at them at the crack of dawn and I embrace them with open arms,
as open as the immensity of the sky.
My beautiful love!
Forgive me, as I am not able to quaff the aromatic scent of your breaths, but here, in this ruin,
I know some wildflowers which grow every morning in my heart,
and at the dead of the night, they drift into sleep with me, in my place.
Forgive me, my angel!
I am not able to caress your gentle skin with my fingertips. But I have a lifelong friendship with sea zephyrs
and those zephyrs strum my nude skin here, in this green hell!
My beautiful! I sing you in the profundities of the oldest and the oddest songs, further away from the world of a man who loves you amongst
the deepest oceans and the darkest forests.
The man loves you,
inside the cage located between
the vastest ocean and the greenest forests.
Forgive me, my love.
Forgive me, my love, as I am only able to love you from a remote island, inside the cage,
from the corner of this small room.
Forgive me, please,
as the only portion of the world that belongs to me is these pieces. 6
Has saturated my father’s face
And my mother’s womb.
stiff with your sorrow
When I signed my exile letters.
stiff with your sorrow
When I got off the tugboat.
Your sorrow has cast a shadow
On the Syrian woman
Smothered under a veil of fear.
Your sorrow has put down roots
Across the Middle East
Into every particle of this poem O homeland!
Your sorrow is boundless.
I am exiled barefoot
My body all but buried
In the beach sand.
They cuff my fears
They cuff my feet
The local people wave at me And I disappear
Inside the clouds
Outside the law
Behind the cameras recording A sobbing boy.
I am exiled
To die piecemeal.
But I will be born again
Through the songs
Above the empty deaths
Beyond the island of metal bars Into the ocean and into the forest. O my neighbor!
You embraced me
Instilled a storm in me.
I will be born again.
A red chested bird
Its wings made of dreams
Flew between the earth and the moon from the Far East To Antarctica.
It flew by the town of refugees
And witnessed the women
Carrying each other’s wounds.
It flew by my portrait
Nailed to an abandoned wall
Your gaze frozen in my eyes.
My heart is suffocated
By the dust of distant memories
And my head is empty
As though I have never opened a book
As though I have never gone anywhere.
Only death can become a voice
A voice deafeningly silent
Emitted from the nestless bird
That traveled from the Far East
We are forgotten in history
In the age of tv shows
In the age of forbidden smiles
We are left behind in the dreams of mothers We are forgotten even in the hearts of our lovers We are not walking on the earth
We are walking in the earth
Under the big stones
Into the dark mines
We are forgotten
We are walking behind the clouds
Out of the earth’s atmosphere
In the sky
But in chains
Out of the city of free people
We are forgotten
Like lonely statues but princely in a cemetery We are left behind
Everyone left us
We are lonely
On the edge of a tragedy that is already forgotten Here we are,
In the memories of the dead brothers
In the memories of sisters who remain with their wounds
We are forgotten
Over the prison camp,
a black kite flies.
A few youths –
still with energy
to bear the difficulties of this prison camp – made it.
The black kite flies,
a messenger of freedom
for us, the forgotten prisoners.
It circles higher and higher above the camp, above the beautiful coconuts.
Our eyes follow its flight,
it seems to want to tear its rope.
It breaks free, dances towards the ocean, flies far and again farther
until no one can see it.
The youths stare into the empty sky after their impossible dream.
The soundtrack written by Katie Noonan
The soundtrack for tonight is available online and at katienoonan.com.au
Women Of Troy Digital Program
Image Credit: Brook Rushton