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Title: Jimmy Chi: Hybridity and Healing
Contributor(s): Hair, Margaret (author); Kiernander, Adrian (supervisor); Rabbitt, Elaine (supervisor)
Conferred Date: 2012
Copyright Date: 2010
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: This thesis examines the notion that Jimmy Chi's two musical plays, 'Bran Nue Dae' (1990) and 'Corrugation Road' (1996) offer new ways of thinking about Indigenous identities. The works are discussed in terms of the physical context in which they were created, namely the Dampier Peninsula in the Kimberley region of north Western Australia, and the historical events which occurred in that area during the process of invasion and colonisation. They are also placed within the development of Indigenous Theatre in Australia, against a framework of post-colonial theory. My research methodology included immersion in the cross-cultural Kimberley culture by living and working there for two years, as well as re-enacting the journeys undertaken in the two plays. I also conducted many formal and informal interviews with the creators of the works, including Jimmy Chi, Stephen Pigram, Michael Manolis and Stephen 'Baamba' Albert. The backbone of this project is the detailed contextual annotation of the two plays, using information gained from the interviews, primary sources and from anecdotal evidence from other Broome locals. This material is then compared to the critical literature. My conclusion is that Jimmy Chi's work offers a departure from previous models of Indigenous theatre, including the 'documentary realism' school. Jimmy Chi's appropriation of the musical form and road trip genre paved the way for younger artists to experiment with form and structure, and to move on from representation of Indigenous characters as powerless victims. Jimmy Chi himself stresses the importance of the songs to the productions, and it is true that the songs cover an extraordinary range of styles, subjects and even philosophies. Jimmy Chi's envisioning of 'a gentler society', outlined in his song 'Streets of Your City' (1996), accords with the great post-colonial theorist Edward Said's contention that 'There is the possibility of a more generous and pluralistic vision of the world' (Said 1993: 277, in Gandhi 1998: 124).
Publication Type: Thesis Masters Research
Field of Research Codes: 190404 Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 950105 The Performing Arts (incl. Theatre and Dance)
Rights Statement: Copyright 2010 - Margaret Hair
HERDC Category Description: T1 Thesis - Masters Degree by Research
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