Note from the Editor: Before the staged, musical version of Jack Charles V The Crown by ILBIJERRI Theatre Company, there was the documentary film Bastardy. Weaving together a personal story of fame, addiction and loss, Bastardy gives an unfiltered lens into the life and past of Uncle Jack Charles. Below is the official theatrical trailer of Bastardy as well as an interview with Uncle Jack on his experience of being among Australia’s “Stolen Generation” We recommend viewing the below to provide a little context in who Jack Charles is. His story is an important one for both Australians and Americans to hear and we hope you’ll join us March 22-25 at New York Lives Arts to do so.
Note from Uncle Jack: Shortly after the screening of a 56-minute version of my documentary, Bastardy, on the ABC, I started to receive, almost immediately, feedback from a number of sources… testament that my story had hit that ‘sweet spot’ in the minds and hearts of ordinary viewers, in Melbourne and nationwide. It had impressed so many people, from all walks of life, that many were urged to contact me by phone or postcard, others content to wait for a chance meet, face to face. On the streets, on a tram, bus, or train… each one practically falling arse over tit to engage, talk and thank me for the experience. I thoroughly enjoy the rapport and support offered by complete strangers, and understand and honour their reaching out to me.
It came as no surprise when Rachael Maza, the Artistic Director for ILBIJERRI, rang to talk about taking my story to its rightful place – the stage, the theatre. The mob at ILBIJERRI were always aware of the rise in my profile and standing in the performing arts arena, so it wasn’t long before I got the call to arms from Rachael and ILBIJERRI – Bold Black ‘n’ Brilliant! Rachael had roped in my old friend from the Pram Factory days, John Romeril, to be my dramaturg. T’was easy to re-connect to the man who’d written the original play, Bastardy… I expect we’ll do even better this time round. This is one very important piece of theatre that I am so anxious and ready to do. I reckon that people from the arts and performing industries have come to the realisation that I share the writing with Romeril, writing a couple of the monologues myself, and performing clean, without any giggle-juice or drugs to enhance my presence on stage. Jack Charles v The Crown is the culmination of years of frustration and rejection from bureaucracy, both black and white.