On Friday night, I had an amazing time at the (free!) show Moving People: A night of performing writing on coming and going from Western Sydney, a joint initiative of the Sydney Writer’s Festival and Bankstown Youth Development Service (BYDS). The Westside Writer’s Group came together for a night of poems, vignettes and performances about people from Western Sydney. I was kindly invited along by Mariam, Westside Publications’ publicist after reviewing their latest book, Three Novelettes which you may have seen on my blog a couple of months ago.
I arrived at Bankstown Arts Centre just shy of 7pm with my fiancé, Ryan in tow, feeling a little nervous as we immersed into the crowd of artsy folk with creative and colourful outfits and a clear sense of excitement in the air. Ryan was pleased about the mini pizzas and spinach triangles that were served pre-show, which was just enough to take the edge off our hunger after an hour in the traffic for what should have taken half that time had it not been peak hour.
At just after 7, the doors opened and a stampede of eager viewers cascaded into the theatre, a cozy room characterised by a towering grandstand which held approximately 150 people. It was a full house! We slipped into the end of a row a couple of seats back from the front and settled in for the show. I was completely blown away. The writer’s were amazing, their performances captivating and their words lingered in my mind throughout the rest of the evening.
Tamar Chnorhokian, published in various Westside publications was brave enough to step up to the podium first. Laughter erupted when a Big W advertisement was projected behind her and she delved into a hilarious account of hunting down shoplifters in this big chain store. Susie then gracefully took the stage, sharing her experience of being a Lebanese Australian while on a trip in Hong Kong.
The audience were immediately intrigued when Nitin Vengurlekar walked onto stage, pulling scraps of paper out of various pockets of his pristine suit. Feigning nervousness, he shared various poems, jokes and snippets of hilarious prose. The room erupted in giggles at his outrageous lines and the corresponding drawings projected behind him. I particularly enjoyed the joke about the man, dog and the centipede! The final line before he made a dramatic exit from the stage- which I cannot repeat here- left the audience laughing hesitantly because it was kind of wrong, but kind of funny at the same time.
The cute and fluffy Amanda Yeo presented an account of her roommate antics, while Luke Carman rapidly dissected his days as a writing student at Kingswood campus.The moment Sarah stepped on stage, I was captivated. She looked the audience right in the eye and spoke of her family’s reaction to her tattoo unashamedly. The room was emotionally charged as she defended the tattoo she got despite her Muslim beliefs.
Then Benny Ngo, a street dancer burst out with some amazing moves in tune with an outback audio vignette.Peta Murphy, a charming young woman spoke about friendships and conflict and argued the ridiculousness of sarongs hung from windows contrary to her housemate’s passion disputation.
The most thought-provoking by far, was Fiona Wright who discussed the internal conflicts she faced in Sri Lanka battling an eating disorder in a country of poverty.
George Toseski chatted about family and Kavita Bedford revealed her fashion faux pars in Jakarta. Emerging poet, Rebecca Landon projected her smooth, beautiful voice across the room and then surprised us all when she pulled on her hood and deepened her voice and amusingly shared shopping centre food court behaviour with animalistic interpretations.I think it was Michael Mohammed Ahmad, the chief editor of Westside Publications concluding the entertainment that really stole the show. His expertise in both acting and writing was completely absorbing. I laughed throughout his vignette of him getting drunk on vodka while out cruising with some friends and fearing the repercussions from his father. A retribution more powerful than any actions was evident in his final line ‘shame on you.’
What I loved about the show, was the passion of the young writers to showcase their thoughts on Western Sydney and the various cultural aspects of the show. I truly had an amazing time and will definitely make an appearance at next year’s show so I can see first-hand, local talent and support writers in South-West Sydney.