Production Title: Goolagong: Tall Tress Still Waters (Working Title)
Technical: The playing space will be the size of an actual tennis court and has the potential to be played outdoors. A basic sound system, two projectors, tarkett and a radio mic for a further creative development with public showing will give the work peer and industry support to be pitched to Festivals and venues.
The play will not be constrained by the limitations of a theatre, rather it will be set within a makeshift bush-mechanics style “sports” Arena with audience seated in traverse. As much an event, as a play, “half-time entertainment” will feature very special guests (such as renowned Aboriginal singer/songwriters Briggs or Jessica Mauboy) who will be commissioned to write songs in honour of Evonne Goolagong’s achievements.
A vintage tennis scoreboard keeps score and white bedsheets flutter ominously in the air. (Evonne’s mother, Linda, made Evonne’s first tennis dress from a bedsheet!) A rustic tennis line marker is literally filled with Wiradjuri earth to create a makeshift tennis court on stage.
The Goolagong Project is an epic physical theatre event that dances the “rags-to-riches” story of Aboriginal tennis star – Evonne Goolagong – who rose to prominence in the 1970’s and became the first Aboriginal woman in Australia to become a World Champion.
Set on a bush-mechanics style make-shift tennis court during the closing stages of Evonne’s last Wimbledon final match – the play reflects on her incredible comeback and her path from a dirt-floor shack living with her seven brothers and sisters in a fringe town outside Griffith, to international fame.
Supported by three adept actor/dancers who service the central performance; Evonne’s graceful oncourt play, her homesickness while “living white” with her coach’s family in Sydney, her battles with racism and media paternalism, local politics and her controversial decision to play in South Africa during Apartheid; will literally be danced on stage to physicalize the epic individual and psychological battle that is elite tennis.
Using dance, media, archival footage, poetic text, storytelling and the rules of the game of tennis; this performance event celebrates Aboriginal achievement, survival and resilience in order to reflect on the future of our nation and to encourage our next “Evonne Goolagong” waiting in the wings.