(l-r) Kylie Farmer, Jason De Santis, and Jaxon De Santis, performing Wulamanayuwai and the Seven Pamanui. Photo: Jay Cronan
Writer-performer Jason De Santis took a Dreamtime story, added a classic European fairy tale, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and mixed in some pop culture references a la Shrek.
The result was Wulamanayuwi and the Seven Pamanui, the Northern Territory's contribution to Collected Works: Australia, now on at The Playhouse.
Wulamanayuwi (played by Kylie Farmer), daughter of the Rainbow Serpent, is entering womanhood. She runs away from her stepmother (Natasha Wanganeen), an evil spirit, and guided by a white cockatoo, meets the seven Pamanui (spirit beings) who help her.
Jason De Santis, Kylie Farmer, and Jaxon De Santis, Kamahi Djordon King and Natasha Wanganeen performing Wulamanayuwai and the Seven Pamanui. Photo: Jay Cronan
De Santis, 29, heard the Dreamtime stories in the Milikapiti people on Melville Island and the play - his first - premiered in 2010 in the Come Out Youth Festival in Adelaide.
The original Wulamanayuwi, Shari Sebbens, recently won a Logie Award for Most Outstanding New Talent for Redfern Now.
The show was at the Sydney Opera House before coming to Canberra.
It is De Santis's first time performing in the ACT.
"I wanted to engage non-Aboriginal people and Aboriginal people at different levels," he said.
"The individual cultures coming together to create a beautiful story that can be understood by anyone and give them something to remember and take part of it home."
It was, he said, a show aimed at all ages with its mixture of stories from Aboriginal and European culture and its modern-day pop culture references as well as songs, puppets and music.
Wednesday's matinee had a lot of schoolchildren in the audience and local Aboriginal families.
"They loved it," De Santis said.
Wulamanayuwi and the Seven Pamanui is on at The Playhouse, Canberra Theatre Centre on Thursday at 9.45am, Friday at 10am and 7pm and Saturday at 10am and 2pm.
Tickets $24, family of four $76. Bookings: 626752700 or canberratheatrecentre.com.au