I watched a delightful family story unfold on stage at Queensland Theatre in South Brisbane last week. My Name is Jimi, Presented by Queensland Theatre, the Centre of Contemporary Arts and the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, is a show with a message. A message of family, culture and roots.
Jimi Bani is soon to be the 9th Chief of Wagadagam and his son Dmitri, who also joins him on stage will be the 10th. They are the guardians of thousands of years of Wagadagam history, tradition and culture.
This play is truly unique and frankly unexpected. Jimi stands proud, open and honest joined by his son Dmitri, mother Agnes, and grandmother Petharie with his brothers Conwell and Richard Bani. It's not hard to fall a little for this beautiful family. Their unity and love radiates around them.
Their family struggle to maintain their identity, to continue to communicate and to pass on years of learning is something that we can all relate to. The responsibility is shouldered by the entire Bani family, reminding us that we all have a part to play.
Prepare to be transported to The Torres Strait through music, dance, three different languages, stand-up and even fireside storytelling in this special live theatre experience.
It opened with a standing ovation and is still receiving them every night.
"With my father's guidance, this is the story of a small community of people clinging tightly to each other, and fighting to protect what really matters, in the whirling chaos of a rapidly changing world. It's funny and challenging, it's inclusive and it's honest, most of all, it's hopeful. There are few Torres Strait Island-led productions in the Australian theatrical cannon, and even fewer make it to major state theatre companies – we say Esso (thank you) to Queensland Theatre for allowing us to tell our story, and in doing so, pass our traditions to our audiences in the hope they will stand as bastions of our culture beside us," said Jimi.
Playing now until the 13th of August at the Billie Brown Studio, Queensland Theatre.
You will laugh, you'll be moved and you may even learn a thing or two. Make sure you don't miss the wonderful Bani family.
Based on a story by Dimple Bani, Jimi Bani, and co-created with Jason Klarwein
Director Jason Klarwein
Cast Jimi Bani Dmitri Ahwang-Bani