The Change: The struggles of refugees and immigrants take centre stage

One of the performances from the The Change Underground 2017. All pictures supplied.

By SALONEE MISTRY,
social issues editor

The Melbourne Fringe Festival will see the cultural, historical and political come together through the artists of The Change.

The Change is an interactive performance that will take place in the underground carpark of Collingwood Housing Estate tonight, tomorrow and Saturday.

The performance covers many topics revolving around refugees and immigrants from the refugees of West Papua, to the struggles of the First Nations people of Australia.

• Show details: 44 Harmsworth St, Collingwood; tonight 6.30pm, tomorrow 6.30pm, Saturday 3pm. Tickets $20

Producer and director of The Change Izzy Brown was inspired by her travels to write the script.

“The performance is meant to show the struggles taking place all over the world and the immigration system along with it,” Ms Brown said.  

The performances are based on stories that the participants witnessed themselves to make the script more organic.

She said the people she worked with helped to shape and influence the outcome of the piece.

“The script evolved with the participants and their own stories so is close to everyone involved.

“The fact that the final script is an amalgamation of stories that the participants have witnessed themselves, it was constantly evolving and is extremely diverse in nature,” she said.

The performance is a musical and audiences will be encouraged to interact and move around to be a part of the different historical events enacted in the show.

Participants include children and senior citizens.

The story unfolds in a setting where children are shown discussing the adventures of their ancestors.

Izzy Brown has produced and scripted the entire performance this year.

“The performances and stories will be accompanied by hip-hop and traditional music with live bands and background sets,” Ms Brown said.

One of the performers at the event, Porobibi, is a Masters student studying international community development and has been a rapper for the past five months.

His performance revolves around the struggle of residents after an airstrike.

“I play the role of a villager first and then a political prisoner, which is when I use spoken word and rap as well,” Porobibi said.

Porobibi left his job as an engineer in a big oil corporation to do something for the community.

“You live only once and I don’t want to spend that in a cubicle,” he said.

“Activism for me runs in the family and I use my spoken word to create awareness and spread the message.”

Melbourne artists such as Monkey Marc, Damn Maroda, Combat Wombat, Racerage, Black Orchid String and Vocal Boogie Choir and the West Papuan dancers will have their music featured at the event.

This performance a part of a bigger project called the United Struggle Project.

Tickets $20 and are available on the Melbourne Fringe website and at the door.