Show artwork for Meet Blayne Welsh
Interviews

Cybec Electric

Meet Blayne Welsh

AIRCON

Emerging First Nations theatre maker and performer Blayne Welsh tells us about his interest in developing new works that dive into questions about intergenerational trauma and intergenerational justice.

The idea for Blayne Welsh’s Cybec Electric play AIRCON came from an experience at the theatre. However, the world of the play is far removed from this setting. He divulges how, though his play is set in a post-apocalyptic world, it is able to explore issues that are pertinent today.

What made you starting writing for the stage?

I discovered drama and performance after I came out of a pretty bad time in my life, and experienced what a tremendous capacity it has to heal. Since then I’ve pursued all the aspects of the craft full time at university and professionally. I was privileged to see what an amazing and collaborative space playwriting can be while I was working with ILBIJERRI Theatre Company, and how it can not only tell First Nations stories in a deeply human way, but can also become a tool for change inside and outside of our community.

Can you tell us more about your Cybec Electric play AIRCON?

AIRCON places us in a world after a global ecological catastrophe. However, this massive and critical backdrop becomes a mere hum in the background. The characters trapped in this luxuriously appointed post-apocalyptic world represent a microcosm of responsibility, shifted blame and intergenerational trauma. If it’s never anybody’s fault, or if it was meant with good intentions, then where do the victims go to seek justice?

 

  

‘I wrote this work because especially now, all humans need to start taking responsibility for how their actions will impact ongoing generations.’

 

 

Why this play and why now?

I wrote this work because especially now, all humans need to start taking responsibility for how their actions will impact ongoing generations. As the son of a member of the Stolen generation and descendant of dispossession, I am hyper aware of my own inner turmoil and anger over the way this trauma will impact our families for generations culturally, mentally and economically. Yet all the while, responsibility gets shifted back in time while the victims of those crimes continue to multiply and move forward. 

In the context of climate change, we’re seeing the same issues regarding intergenerational justice arising. Those at the heart of the issues shift the blame anywhere else and once all is said and done, their descendants will benefit, holding up clean hands, while the victims continue to suffer, generation after generation.

Where do you find creative inspiration for your ideas and writing?

In this case, the whole process started when I was watching a performance of a new work in a theatre space that had an old air-conditioning unit next to the audience. On it was a big sign which said ‘DO NOT TURN OFF’, and it audibly hummed during the entirety of the play. 

It occasionally spat on us as well.

I find as my work continues to mature, it’s certain life experiences that find a way to attach themselves to questions I have of myself (primarily around my own identity and my place in the world) and of society in general.

What do you hope audiences feel or take away after hearing your play?

I’d be happy if the audience leaves the show uncertain as to which character was in the right. That they need to take responsibility for their own actions, actions they are affiliated with, and how those actions could affect our collective future.


Cybec Electric 2022 runs from 3–5 March 2022 at Southbank Theatre.

Cybec Electric forms part of MTC’s ongoing commitment to the development of new Australian writing, and is only possible due to the support of the late Dr Roger Riordan AM and The Cybec Foundation.

 

Published on 18 February 2022

Explore More