“HEAD Full of Love” is a new Australian play that explores confronting issues in a way that is playful, funny, moving and deeply authentic.
It builds on the tradition of indigenous theatre that is, in the words of its director, “…one of only a few ways to speak our stories on to the public record and communicate with a wider community.”
It’s a story of two older women, which in itself is unusual. Towards the end of the play, Tilley (Paula Delaney Nazarski) an Aboriginal woman from Alice Springs, tells Nessa (Annie Byron) a white woman from Sydney, that she needn’t worry about being found by the authorities that pursue her, because no one sees old women.
It’s always a pleasure to watch seasoned, accomplished actors ply their trade and these two are each other’s perfect foil. They meet during the annual Alice Springs Beanie Festival when Nessa flees Sydney to escape a mental health facility and a fractured family relationship. While their backgrounds are poles apart, both women face grief and loss over their families, and their own kinds of ill health. A friendship develops between them and we discover a world of chronic poverty where diabetes and kidney disease are endemic.
Designer Simone Romaniuk uses corrugated iron, milk-crate furniture and well-placed projected images to conjure up the land around Alice Springs. The quirky and beautiful crocheted beanies created throughout the play are objects into which stories and feelings are both literally and metaphorically woven.
This show is powerful without being bombastic and moving without sentimentality. “Head Full of Love” is touring Australia until late September and is commended and recommended.