Sista Girl is the first joint project between the State Theatre Company of South Australia and Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company, based in Perth, and if this production is anything to go by, we will certainly be seeing some amazing work in the future from this partnership.
Sista Girl is set in present day Australia, on Australia Day. The play tackles the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians through the tale of two young women whose previously separated lives are pulled together through the death, and life, of their father.
These two young women are initially seemingly unconnected and distinctly different characters: Nakisha (Sharni McDermott) is a very successful, headstrong Aboriginal business woman while Georgie (Nadia Rossi) is a ‘rough around the edges’, unemployed, people-loving woman of Italian descent. Despite their differences however, they are not disconnected.
The performance itself is quite simple and unique; at no point throughout the play do either of the actors leave the stage; the entire stage is commanded by the two actors throughout the performance, and it is through their movements that the set changes. To assist in focusing the audience’s attention to where it is required, the lighting is also altered consistently. This style of performance was very important for the play as it provides a physical expression of the interconnection between the two characters at all times.
This message is further pronounced by the duplication of each of the actor’s lines over the other—as one character would finish their brief ‘scene’ their last few words would be mimicked by the other character as their scene began. Despite a couple of barely noticeable hiccups, which I’m sure are to be expected on opening night, this was done seamlessly and definitely made the connection between the two characters stronger.
Sista Girl was an awesome production to watch; while being simplistic in its presentation, the content was certainly not so. Sista Girl tackles a multitude of issues present in Australian society surrounding race, class, violence, family and the meaning of Australia Day. These topics were presented as if mirroring everyday life, opinions of both characters were honest, and shared through fear, anger, frustration—but also comedy.
It was brilliant to see these topics presented on stage honestly, and I think, even more special, given the intimacy of the theatre space, to be able to observe the audience’s reaction.
Sista Girl is hard hitting; Elena Carapetis and Alexis West did not dance around the fact that racism is a prevalent problem in Australia when writing this play. However they have managed to be both inclusive and understanding in their writing. This, along with the comedic and honest execution in delivering its messages, is what makes Sista Girl special. You’ll find yourself cracking up laughing one minute and deep in thought the next, and at the end of the performance you will notice a palpable happiness in the room as the audience smiles, claps and nods along in agreement.
Sista Girl will be running both matinee and evening performances until August 19, with tickets starting at just $25.00. You still have plenty of time to go and watch this awesome performance, so as usual I would recommend you get yourselves a pair of those tickets and make a night of it.