"Thank you so much I have just listened to the recording which was very tearful you have know idea how much this means to me and to my family, I will have to ask some elders back in PNG to listen and see if they can recognise some of the other voices on the recordings, I only wish I found this when my grandmother was still alive.
Thank you again..
PARADISEC Case Study - Sugar Cane Days
"My area of research is postcolonial Pacific Island theatre. It’s a rich and dynamic field of artistic output, but remains a relatively neglected topic of world theatre scholarship – I think, in part, because scripted drama has a relatively short history in the region compared to other world literatures, and because theatre as a medium is ephemeral, lacking the same documentary record as some other artistic genres. Consequently, this can make regional theatre history research quite challenging; although print publication is becoming much more common for local plays, I have still had to search in a number of alternative places to collate material (especially from earlier periods) for research and teaching.
It was while I was researching examples of early post-independence drama from Papua New Guinea that I came across an online reference to a sound recording held in the PARADISEC archive of Albert Toro’s 1977 radio serial, Sugar Cane Days: a historical drama about the “blackbirding” days, recounting a young Bougainvillean man’s forced indenture in the Queensland cane fields during the nineteenth century. Whereas discrete sections of Toro’s play had been published in local literary anthologies and magazines in the early 1980s, no complete script of the play was available. I was extremely excited, therefore, to locate the complete five-part audio recording of the performance taken in Port Moresby in the 1970s, as well as an interview with Toro about the inspiration for, and genesis of, the play. Nick Thieberger agreed to make these unique sound files available in a format that could be loaded on to my computer, allowing me not only to listen to the original radio play in performance, but to create a verbatim transcript from the recording. I was able to clarify certain names and details with reference to historical materials, especially Toro’s own source texts, which were identified in the accompanying interview. As well as making the script available to PARADISEC to help enhance that archive and the visibility of Pacific drama, the hard copy has been useful for my teaching in Oceanic Theatre courses both in the United States and in Australia, where the text has added relevance as a reference to Queensland’s own Pacific histories. It has also been valuable for my research into historiographic theatre in Oceania (the subject of my PhD dissertation and my current book)."
Diana Looser, University of Queensland.