ALBERTS, Jada Brothers Wreck Currency Press, 2014 42pp $19.95 pbk ISBN 9781925005134 SCIS 1676606
It is quite difficult to do justice to the impact made by reading this memorable play about a family in Darwin. Ruben is stunned by the terrible loss of Joe, in strife with the law, unco-operative with his case worker, and seems at odds with his cousins. To all appearances he is not prepared to do anything to help himself. In fact, however, he is ensnared by feelings of insurmountable grief and guilt. Grog and cigarettes do not help him. Then Aunt Petra arrives and, in spite of tragic circumstances, the family slowly begins to function more positively and openly, and Ruben begins to talk and take part in it.
Jada Alberts is from Larrakia, Yanuwa, Bardi and Wardaman country. Her ear for language and grip of good storytelling is matched by an understanding of human distress. Through her characters she depicts how emotional suffering can have the power to unravel even the brightest and most loved young people. At the same time as her characters are contending with life and death issues they still have the panache to converse with humour, wit, and honesty.
This publication has added value for drama students. It provides a theatre program, at the end of the playtext, for the performance of Brothers Wreck which opened in May 2014 at the Belvoir St Theatre. A podcast relating to the play can be found on the publisher’s website.
reviewed by Elspeth Cameron