Australian Performing Arts Market


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The Black Lung Theatre and Whaling Firm

  • Venue: Piano Bar
  • When: Mon 27 Feb 09:45 AM - 10:45 AM
  • Genre: Theatre
  • Main Audience: Adults (18+)
  • Producer: Alex Ben-Mayor
  • No. in touring party: 11


Savages is the creation of a religion and the chronicle of its downfall. Created in the remote provinces of Timor Leste, Savages is a collaboration between The Black Lung Theatre and Whaling Firm, and Timorese companies Liurai Fo’er (King Bin) and Galaxy. It is the first piece of international theatre created in the fledgling democracy of Timor Leste. The production uses film and video, instrumentation and a publication to tell the narrative of a remote and ill-fated religious sect.

Savages is a production about the death of a group of people at their own shaking hands, linking historical circumstances like the demise of the People’s Temple in Jonestown, Guyana, the end of David Koresh’s Branch Davidians in Waco, The Nation of Yahweh or The Heaven’s Gate mass suicide, with a fictional narrative intrinsically linked to the companies and artists behind the production.

The narrative walks a knife edge of unencumbered release and grim finality, reaching toward themes of institutionalisation, mental illness, mortality and chaos. It depicts the forms we create to house our fear and desire, our pain and revelation, and examines the role that religion and other institutions take in constructing, negotiating and occasionally collapsing societies.   

The Black Lung Theatre and Whaling Firm

The Black Lung Theatre and Whaling Firm is an acclaimed company carving out a distinct corner of the theatrical industry. Variously described as ‘immature’, an ‘anti-institution’, ‘genius’ and ‘iconic’, they have worked to refute definition and to criticise and deconstruct the form of theatre. Recent productions include And They Called Him Mr. Glamour (Belvoir, 2011) and I Feel Awful (Brisbane Festival, 2011). See for all productions.

Savages was created when Director Thomas M Wright met Liurai Foer director, Galaxy founder and former guerilla fighter Osme Gonçalves filming Balibo in 2008. This relationship has demanded a redefinition of the intentions of The Black Lung Theatre. The inclusion of artists from another background has turned the direction of the company toward a responsibility to the stories and histories of those we intend to work with.

Galaxy is the most iconic band in Timor Leste, bridging contemporary forms with the traditions of the Fataluku people. Dedicated to determining the artistic direction of Timor, Galaxy has created a number of the leading musicians, performers and artists of the nation. Liurai Fo’er (King Bin) is alone in Timor in its devised, contemporary intentions; creating installations, performances and larger sculptural works from detritus and found materials.

Photo: Andrew Fraser


Alex Ben-Mayor
Producer, Stealth Agency
GPO Box 570
Darwin NT 0801