Beautiful One Day is a play by Ilbijerri Theatre Company in partnership with Belvoir Street Theatre. The play is a response to the Palm Island Riots due to the failure of the Queensland Government to seek deliver justice in a death in custody case. I had an opportunity to see the work last week at QPAC, and I thoroughly recommend it.
The play is very different from any other I have seen before as it was almost a documentary. I have heard the play referred to as verbatim theatre, a description that works well. Each of the six actors play historical figures, contemporary figures as well as themselves. The play moves through different times in history. In addition to the actors on stage, we also hear from voices from the four screens at the back of the stage.
At times the play is disturbing. On the night I went, the audience was barely unable to contain their rage and sadness at the clear injustice that the people of Palm Island have had to endure over the past hundred years. It was emotional and gritty stuff.
Beautiful One Day was an excellent demonstration of the way that stories of this nature can be told in a respectful and contributing way.
For more information on Palm Island and the cases I recommend Joanne Watson’s Palm Island Through a Long Lens.