Shattered: The All-Australian Terrorist

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Shattered takes place in the physical form of an commercial aircraft, however Jessi Lewis’ self-funded, written, and directed starring role takes place in the terrains of tragedy and disaster. After a plane crashes in the Australian outback, it isn’t long before accident is ruled out. It is revealed the tragedy was orchestrated by the first all Aussie terrorist. There are no survivors. We asked Jessi about his impressive stage feat and why it’s important to put the notion of terrorism under a spotlight.

MILK BAR: What inspired the creation of Shattered?

JESSI LEWIS: The work was originally something small, it related to the emotions and effects brought on by personal disaster. Art imitated life in the last nine months, when at Christmas one of my closest friends passed. This saw the work grow further, and it saw me take time out to deal with his loss. There was always the underlying plot of “the terrorist”, but first it was used as a metaphor for personal loss. In the weeks and months that have passed since December, this became stronger. Perhaps due to my own anger at the loss I had suffered. The two have to come together now, and both stand strong against one another. Shattered was inspired by the personal, and impersonal.

MB: How have those initial thoughts been translated into the performance?

JL: It has been interesting working with many collaborators because it’s not just my own thoughts that have gone into the work. Not all, but most of these have been included. What has been steadfast throughout is my connection to the memories that drive the work, because these are my own. Additionally, Shattered has been shaped by world events as terrorism has once again come to the forefront of the Australian consciousness.

MB: What do you think is the importance of tackling this subject matter?

JL: I think art has a role to play in facilitating active social dialogue in the face of such issues. It is able to remove the bias often flaunted by mainstream media coverage and news, cut to the heart of the matter, and offer a unique perspective. Perhaps Shattered is reflective of this with the events that have come in the last few months.

MB: What are you hoping audiences will take away from your performance?

JL: I do not hope that they take away any one thing. The work is going to mean different things to different people, what they choose to take away is their own choice. I hope Shattered does offer a unique perspective on these topics, and that it cuts to the heart, but that’s up to the audience to decide.

SHATTERED is showing until June 1 at Thousand Pound Bend, 361 Little Lonsdale Street Melbourne.
Tickets $18 to $24 and available at venue.

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