All aboard the “tales of an urban Indian bus”, take your seats and get ready for a dark and wild journey through Brisbane on a City Bus, whilst being immersed in the life story of Simon Douglas an “Urban Indian”.
City Bus – Tales of an Urban Indian, by Talk is Free Theatre
18 May 2019
Departing from, stop 15, Sydney street New Farm, 10 – 19 May, 2019
We take our seats throughout the bus, looking at each other in anticipation, the bus departs, and pulls into the next stop. Simon Douglas (Craig Lauzon), boards the bus, puts up images of “stereotypical Indians”, explains he is an urban Indian, he has never had a vision, never heard an owl, and has never made it rain.
During the next 90 minutes Simon personifies multiple characters from his pet cockroach “fluffy”, to the Irish Father Paul. A master storyteller, his life story is told as an urban Indian, the place and people names are foreign, but the stories and themes of colonisation, segregation, discrimination and poverty are uncomfortably resemblant of Australia’s history with Indigenous people.
The honesty, humour, and energy of Simon climbing, jumping and twirling through the bus all whilst traversing the back streets of New Farm to Highgate Hill makes his performance even more impressive. There are lovely and humorous characters such as the fly swat carrying Aunty, and his best friend Nic who is never without a packet of crisps. Juxtaposed with heartbreakingly sad moments of youth suicide and drug and alcohol abuse, which are personal and raw, it was an uncomfortably important work, with a poignant finale.
Through my experience with City Bus, I reflected that the Anywhere Festival shows are in these amazing venues, even a bus! These places are not really “Anywhere”, they are on land that is special with secret histories and stories that are tens of thousands of years old. I sincerely hope there is a show as powerful and articulate as City Bus in the Anywhere program next year based on our own local Indigenous history and stories.