Blackbird touched its audience at the Majestic Theatre, Malanda on various levels. From a presenter’s point of view, Leah and her production team, Megan, James and Megan’s mother were obviously a united group bonded together in the confidence that they had a show worthy of anyone’s attention. They carried their ambassador, Megan high up on their shoulders.
Megan’s performance is excellent. She has a captive audience right from the outset. Her body language is confident, relaxed and natural. Her choreography is simple, well balanced and easy on the eye, matching her dialogue with the audience – personal, reverent, youthful, insightful, welcoming and proud. Megan has a lot to be proud of – her ancestry. Her forebears were fuelled by their love for each other and for justice. They would be proud to see that Megan has been empowered by their actions. Megan will not let their efforts fall on barren soil. They cast the seeds of self worth, family bonds and tradition. These fuel Megan’s torch and lights the stage and everyone in her presence. The power of this girl’s light should not be underestimated. At the very least, Megan reminds you to value yourself and this is an essential ingredient for a healthy community.
Megan’s songs vary in range from country to rock and roll and everything in between. She has an impressive vocal range and style singing out clearly. Congratulations to composer, John Rodgers who wove her family’s story into these engaging narratives.
Musician James Clark works beautifully with Megan. Never faulting, ever present and supportive, his music flows, carrying us on the emotional current.
The set design, including lighting and sound, is earthy, uncluttered and easy on the eye. Megan’s stories are well enhanced by the visual clips of photos and interviews with the women in her family. By the end of her story I had a comprehensive view of Megan’s family tree and a visual of the differences between modern day life and the beginning of Megan’s story almost 200 years ago. When Megan introduced the last song for the night, I was surprised to realise that time had passed so quickly, suffice to say that I had been spell bound – a captive audience of this charming, intelligent, talented musical story teller and ambassador.
My final word is that a recording of Blackbird should be in every classroom and library. It’s real history. These are the historical stories that Australian citizens should know. This is where we’ve come from. Knowing where we’ve come from shows us where we are and where we could go.
Feedback from other people who attended the show in Malanda runs something like this..
.. She had some terrible stories to tell but she’s not blaming anyone. She’s focussing on the good things she can do with her life….
.. Her voice is so strong and clear and easy to understand..
.. Her musician is brilliant .. (that from a professional musician)..
.. There’s a lot of wisdom in her words ..
.. It’s nothing like what I expected, it’s better …
We laughed, we cried, we empathised.