The story of the white man who went black and came back.
Written & performed by Jan ‘Yarn’ Wositzky
Directed by Paul Hampton
Storyteller/musician Jan ‘Yarn’ Wositzky is well known as a founder of the Bushwackers Band. However Jan is also a master storyteller, and his acclaimed solo show The Go-Between: William Murrungurk Buckley is coming to
Candelo (NSW) Saturday Oct. 29
Murrah (NSW) Sunday Oct. 30
It’s the story of William Buckley (1780-1856), an escaped convict who for 32 years lived with Wathaurong people on Victoria’s south-west coast. They took him in as Murrungurk, a Wathaurong spirit returned from the dead.
But that’s only half the tale, and in The Go-Between: William Murrungurk Buckley Jan ‘Yarn’ Wositzky relates the treacherous, political end game, with Buckley as the go-between in the not-so-black-and-white world of colonial Victoria. There he deals with murder, massacre and the land developers who began Melbourne – Batman, Fawkner and Gellibrand – as well as the so called Aboriginal ‘traitor’, Derrimut.
Told and sung in savage, humorous fashion, using historical documents, Buckley’s 1852 ghosted biography, poetry, song and music on banjo and Wathaurong language, this is a tale of reconciliation and failed reconciliation that goes back to 1803.
And where does the saying You’ve got Buckley’s come from? You’ll be surprised!
Jan ‘Yarn’ Wositzky
Jan ‘Yarn’ Wositzky is a storyteller musician who considers the heart of our history to be the relationship between black and white Australians. A founder of The Bushwackers Band in 1971, Jan went on to write bestselling books such as Born Under The Paperbark Tree with Wardaman songman Yidumduma Bill Harney, Me & Phar Lap with Tommy Woodcock, award-winning television documentaries Buwarrala Akarriya: Journey East (ABC) and Aeroplane Dance (SBS), and to devise the Wominjeka Ceremony with Dja Dja Wurrung people of central Victoria. Jan’s other solo shows include Bilarni – a hit at the National Folk Festival – and Gallipoli Canakkale which played to 8000 people before the Dawn Service at Anzac Cove.
‘…a breezy and brilliant piece of troubadour theatre. As with the very best of theatre THE FIRST WHITE MAN covers its tracks so well its agenda remains a secret – buried beneath layers of entertainment, comedy, story and song. A show worth tracking.’ (Herald-Sun)
‘… a vivid tale, often spiked with larrikin humour, this is an educational and entertaining take on a classic Australian story.’ (The Age)
Red Rock Regional Theatre and Gallery hosted The Go Between: William Murrungurk Buckley as part of our 2013 Volcano Dreaming events, and The Go-Between enlightened and entertained, taking us on Buckley’s journey through colonial settlement and black dispossession. (Andrew Beale, Red Rock Regional Theatre and Gallery)
Jan Wositzky’s performance of this story is a must see if you ever get the chance. He is a master storyteller, musician and historian who uses language (including indigenous), original songs and simple but highly effective props, all of which come together as this amazing story unfolds into a manifestation of potent symbols. The house was packed and the audience completely enthralled from start to finish.
(Phil Hall, Chewton Chat)
‘Jan ‘Yarn’ Wositzky’s shamanistic storytelling draws you irresistibly into the unknowable black-white world of William Murrangurk Buckley. The show is moving, elating even.’ (Robyn Annear, author ‘Bearbrass’)
‘… a thoroughly entertaining combination of story telling, poetry, music and humour. But it is more than that. In turning his considerable skills to the telling of Buckley’s story, Wositzky draws his audience into considering the most important question facing contemporary Australia – that of Reconciliation with it’s indigenous people.’
(Brian Hubber, curator of the exhibition William Buckley: Rediscovered)