NORPA'S latest production Africa

IMAGINE eloping to an exotic land. It is a dream shared by lovers across the centuries.

But few would have been as bold and spontaneous as six-year-old Mika and his five-year-old sweetheart Anna-Bell.

After mulling over their options in secret, they packed their suitcases and set off from the German city of Hanover to tie the knot under the heat of the African sun.

Theatre company My Darling Patricia mined the collective imagination of childhood to create the play Africa, a work for adults told from the perspective of children.

It crosses domestic landscapes and the fantastic possibilities of suburban Australia.

Africa features bunraku-style puppets, performance, projection and an innovative multi-level set design.

It explores the resilient powers of imagination, fantasy and escape in the lives of children in a landscape of broken toys, puppets and sun-faded furniture: a rich imaginative world of "squalid mess" full of dreams and possibilities.

Inspired by the true story of Mika and Anna-Bell and high-profile cases of child neglect in the Australian media, Africa draws inspiration from a tradition of stories that imagine children in control of a world free from adults and their rules and boundaries.

Where some see chaos, others see the child’s ability to imaginatively transform their surroundings into places of wonder and delight.

"Africa deals with the harshness of the suburban world through the magic of theatre and imagery and through the eyes of children, which creates a very powerful experience for the audience. In the bleakest of envrionments, the world of fantasy is where we find our escape. This show is a wonderful mix of both sorrow and joy," said NORPA’s artistic director Julian Louis.

My Darling Patricia will perform Africa at 7.30pm on Saturday, June 11, at Lismore City Hall.

Bookings: 6622 0300.

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