Not Just My Story

 Based on the real-life stories of asylum seekers, Not Just My Story is a poignant and candid production about the harrowing circumstances asylum seekers flee from and the desperate plight of seeking asylum. 

 Presented by: The Asylum Seeker Resource CentreVenue: St. Martins Art Centre Saturday, 14 May, 2011 Not Just My StoryBased on the real-life stories of asylum seekers, Not Just My Story is a poignant and candid production about the harrowing circumstances asylum seekers flee from and the desperate plight of seeking asylum. Tragedy and hope are omnipresent in the stories that weave throughout this show giving the audience a gut-wrenching and lion’s-courage snapshot of these people’s lives. 
What’s striking about Not Just My Story is that the performers, who are all asylum seekers, are not trained actors yet they all give such authentic performances. Perhaps because the stories are their own, there’s little acting that needs to be done; nonetheless, one has to risk telling the truth to be believable in any performance and the cast do this boldly. A few stumbles and nerves, aside, the performances are solid which demonstrates definitive and well-supported direction. The Director, Catherine Simmonds, has done a great job with instilling confidence in her performers.
Yumi Umiumare, the Movement Artist/Choreographer of Not Just My Story, is an exciting performer to watch so I was really looking forward to seeing her influence in this piece. She did not disappoint. The physical movement in this production is really powerful which sees the performers at their fluid best. And one cannot forget to mention Arnold Zable, Writer, who no doubt brought a tear to many through his honest and thought provoking script. 
As this is ‘a work in progress’ there is room for further development. The length of the show could be cut to ensure themes aren’t laboured which might solve the problem of the show feeling disjointed at times. These stories are such important stories to tell so I wonder if choosing a few key stories and focusing on evolving these in a linear fashion would ensure the poignancy and energy of the show is never lost. 
Regardless, this is a show that has more great moments than not, and the standing ovation at the end of the show demonstrates the level to which the audience was moved by this production. If the closing sequence doesn’t put a smile on your face, a tear in your eye and a flush of warmth in your heart, then you need to ask yourself: where is my humanity? And, indeed, Australia: Where is your humanity? Bookings: The show has completed its run in Melbourne but is touring nationally. For cities, dates and ticket information go to click HERE 

Erin James

Erin James is's former Editor in Chief and a performer on both stage and screen. Credits include My Fair Lady, South Pacific and The King and I (Opera Australia), Love Never Dies and Cats (Really Useful Group), Blood Brothers (Enda Markey Presents), A Place To Call Home (Foxtel/Channel 7) and the feature film The Little Death (written and directed by Josh Lawson).

Erin James

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