In this compelling and intimate work of political theatre, writer, academic and performer Dr. Paul Dwyer retraces three journeys made by his father Dr Allan Dwyer, a world-renowned orthopaedic surgeon, to Bougainville (PNG) during the 1960s, healing dozens of crippled children pro bono.
Dwyer has been making these journeys to Bougainville since 2004 to conduct research on the post war reconciliation process and to follow the impact his father’s legacy has had on the Bougainvillean children.
"I wondered if the positive effects of my father’s work were discernible 40 years down the track," Dwyer says. There is also the sense that Dwyer feels the need to connect with his late dad in a way he never got to at the time because he was too young.
This very personal journey takes Dwyer into the more diverse political arena as family stories become entwined with the larger narrative of Australia’s colonial enterprise over the years following – the opening of the giant Panguna copper mine, environmental devastation, a brutal civil war funded by Australia that cost the lives of up to 20,000 people, and finally, the post-war reconciliation.
Dwyer, Head of Department of Performance Studies at the University of Sydney is interested in further exploration of alternative ways in which stories can be told:
"My doctoral research focused on various modifications of, and continuing challenges to, the theory and practice of Augusto Boal’s ‘Theatre of the oppressed’. I am now just embarking on research into the performative aspects of ‘restorative justice’ and various kinds of reconciliation ceremony."
Dwyer’s Restorative justice as performance piece has been nominated for Best Independent Theatre Production at the 2010 Sydney Theatre Awards.
The Bougainville Photoplay Project is described as a performance style lecture which deftly combines field notes, oral history, a crash course in pidgin English, reconstructions of complex surgical procedures, letters, diaries, slides, Super-8 film and video installation.
The Bougainville Photoplay Project is also part of the Darwin Festival Schools Program.
Venue:Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall, 521 Queensberry St, North Melbourne
Date: August 2010