Installation/Short Documentary, various, 2013
A number of years back, co-creators Michael Kantor and the late brilliant Balang Lewis expressed a shared desire to create an Indigenous adaptation of a classic Shakespearean text. Lamenting the state of affairs in his small community outside of Katherine, Balang Lewis despaired, “what’s happening in Beswick … conflicts over land, families breaking down … it’s a tragedy, it’s like a Shakespearean tragedy”. From that moment Kantor and Lewis knew that their retelling of Shakespeare should be set in the far North of Australia, a frontier land where land disputes, clan violence and family conflicts are rife. And so the story of ‘The Shadow King’ was borne.
In early 2013, Daybreak Films were engaged by The Malthouse Theatre to film and edit screen visual content to be projected as a large installation projected onto a massive sheet of iron during the theatre production of ‘The Shadow King’. These elements, created by Rhys Graham in collaboration with DOP Murray Lui, formed a cineamatic backdrop to the theatre work as well as creating interstitial short films of the King's descent into madness. Along with this, Rhys and the Daybreak Team including Natasha Gadd & Andrea DiStefano also created several short documentary works focusing on the development and staging that involved filming on country in the Northern Territory as well as early stage translation workshop and script read through in Melbourne.
The resulting filmed elements form a beautiful archive of this ambitious project as well as an exploration of the stunning talents of actor Balang Lewis.