Photos by Katy Green Loughrey
A prominent Tongan-Australian performer and climate change activist, Latai Taumoepeau, is raising awareness of climate change in her latest fringe theatre performance “Disaffected”. Latai along with fellow performers Valerie Berry and Ryuichi Fujimura, reveal the impacts of climate change through body language and abstract display.
“This work was a physically and emotionally challenging piece that is very close to my heart, as it is about climate change”, said Latai Taumoepeau. “It was extremely textured and we utilised materials such as tarpaulins, corrugated iron sheeting to construct imagery that expressed experiences of being in cyclones and tsunamis”.
“Disaffected” was showcased last week 17-20 March in Western Sydney’s Blacktown Arts Centre, and the show has since been receiving positive reviews and appraisals from art critics. According to a review from the Sydney Arts Guide, “Disaffected is wonderful. The work is a powerful and evocative performance, but more than that, it is a call to arms”
“The audio and visual design is mesmerizing, by turns reminiscent of horror-movies, nightmares and crushing loneliness – Disaffected uses lighting, sound, movement, interesting props and sparse dialogue and voice-over to dramatically shed light upon climate change focusing on the effects felt across Oceania where numerous small islands are on the brink of being swallowed by the rising sea levels”, stated a review from The Buzz from Sydney.
Latai hopes that “Disaffected” will raise awareness of climate change and initiate action. Having drawn many of her ideas from research on climate change, Latai says that as an accomplished artist she can do her part in raising awareness of Climate Change through theatre and display.
“As a self-appointed Punake I really love that Disaffected highlights the complicity of Australian communities, including the Pacific diaspora in the light of the Australian government’s appalling position on climate change and how it affects our island nations severely. It asks for action from the audience after they leave the theatre”,
“Disaffected” was led by director Kym Vercoe and featured artists of various ethnic backgrounds, including Latai Taumoepeau, Ryuichi Fujimura (Japanese) and Valerie Berry (Filipino).