|Co-production||HANDSPAN THEATRE & the KOORI HEALTH UNIT VICTORIA|
|Premiere||26 May, 1997|
|Venue||Box Forest KODE|
SLOW DOWN CUZ was created by Handspan with the Victorian Koori Health Unit for adolescent audiences after the success of their previous co-production, The Kangaroo Tale (1995) in primary schools.
The play followed the same characters that had been introduced in The Kangaroo Tale, Nindara and Jenali, who with Shove and Brandy, are now grown into teenagers and transported from the Dreamtime into contemporary Aboriginal society. Its themes again explored youth sexuality but in SLOW DOWN CUZ, they were directly focused on the possibilities and perils of STDs, teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, peer pressure and life's choices.
Puppets and animated objects became a Chorus for the play sometimes portraying the Gods of the Dreamtime and able to represented taboos and awkward topics - penises, condoms and STDs in comic scenes that revealed the teenagers thoughts and concerns.
For Handspan, the production was the last in a quartet of theatre-in-education works written by Gilly Farrelly that focused on these issues: We Repeat Ourselves (1989); Lunatic Soup (1991); The Kangaroo Tale (1995) and Slow Down Cuz 1997. The plays were researched with the communities who became their audience, offering Handspan artists extended opportunities to create collaborative research-based theatre and in the co-production with the Koori Health Unit, in-depth cross-cultural exchange experience.
Handspan and the Koori Health Unit were supported by Special Funding from The STD Blood Borne Virus Program which involved collaboration in all aspects of the work. Joanne Dwyer from the Koori Health Unit was Assistant Director for the production and the cast included cast of 4 young actors were drawn from Victorian indigenous communities in Echuca, Sale and Melbourne. The project offered these young performers opportunities to explore topical material and collaborate in creating a production about personal and relevant issues for their peers . At the same time the work's five week-long development and rehearsal residency in Melbourne and subsequent three week tour offered, otherwise rare, professional work experience engagement for young and emerging indigenous artists.
According to reports, SLOW DOWN CUZ achieved unprecedented acceptance in the communities where the play appeared.
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|Writer/researchers||Gilly Farrelly and Joanne Dwyer|
|Assistant director||Joanne Dwyer|
|Alan Brown Jnr|
|Puppet & Set makers||David Hope, Katrina Gaskell and Michele Spooner|
|Production manager||Mikkel Mynster|
|Koori Health Unit||Bronwyn Kaaden & Dorothy Anderson|
|STD Blood Borne Virus Program||Michael Batchelor|
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|26 May -12 June||Box Forest KODE|
|(3 weeks)||The Advancement League|
|(3,800 kms)||Northlands Secondary College, Preston|
|Kurnai College KODE|
|Mooroopna Secondary College|
|Wodonga Secondary College|
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