Richard Frankland re-teams with Wayne Blair for this theatrical anthology based on his life
"I remember hitchhiking across the Nullarbor when I was young," says Richard Frankland. "I was with my mum and her partner. We had no money and we were hungry. I remember everything seemed so enormous. This is a really big world, and sometimes you can feel very alone."
According to Frankland, playwright, musician and Gunditjmara man, our only answer to the bigness of the world is love.
"You should always cherish those who are close to you."
One man who has become very close in Frankland's own life is director Wayne Blair (The Sapphires, Redfern Now).
"Wayne played a character based on me in a play I wrote called Conversations with the Dead," explains Frankland. "I started telling him my stories and showing him some of the things I'd written. It became a very important and personal journey."
Now, more than a decade on, Blair and Frankland have adapted these stories into a new theatrical anthology, Walking into the Bigness, performed by Paul Ashcroft, Luisa Hastings Edge and Rarriwuy Hick, and with music by Frankland himself and Monica Weightman.
"It's a unique way of telling a very complex story," he explains. "A different way of storytelling."
The piece traces the big themes of Frankland's life, emphasising the essential connection between art and empowerment. It's a life touched with much sadness and anger, especially those years when he was an investigator with the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. But he promises that it won't all be doom and gloom.
"There will be a couple of giggly mums. The pendulum has to swing both ways, otherwise you don't know the good from the bad."