Mathinna

After Viewing

FOR YEARS 5/6

Pose questions that remind them of their experience.

  • How many sections of the full production are shown in the resource?
  • How many dancers are on the stage in section 1 – Father?
  • What is the prop that this dancer holds?
  • What is the dancer wearing?
  • What is painted on his skin?
  • How many dancers are in section 2 – Nursery?
  • What are the objects on the stage and what type of room do they represent?
  • What are the dancers wearing and what are they doing?
  • What are the props in section 3 – Moonshine?
  • Have you seen the central performer in one of the other sections?

Identify some of the main ideas and select and clarify information from the students’ responses.

  • Which dancer do you think is Mathinna?
  • Who do you think the other characters are?
  • Why does one character wear a long dress? Who does she represent?
  • Why does another hold a rock?  Why might this be a special rock? What could it represent?
  • How old was Mathinna when she died?

The dance theatre production of Mathinna tells of the disruption that occurred as British settlers relocated the Aboriginal people from their tribal lands, intervening in their cultural practices as they imposed modern European values and systems into their lives.

  • Which European influences on Aboriginal lives are shown in the dance?
  • What influence did John and Jane Franklin have on the colony of Hobart?
  • Why do you think Mathinna died at such a young age?

Collect, compare and categorise facts and opinions.

Movement and meaning

  • Describe the way the dancer in Father uses his hands?
  • Can you tell what he feels about the object he holds?
  • Why does Mathinna need to put on socks and shoes?
  • What instrument does the dancer with the long dress pretend to play?
  • How can you tell that Mathinna is still quite young?
  • Describe her movements.  Does she look comfortable?
  • Why does Mathinna look different in section 3, compared the way she looks in section 2? What has happened to her?
  • What is she sitting on in section 2 and in section 3?
  • Describe the movements of the other dancers in red. What are they doing?
  • What is the relationship between the dancers and the audience? Do any of the dancers look at the audience? Why?

Non movement aspects

  • Describe the stage set including the colour of the background, floor, props and the lighting (colour, brightness, point/s of focus) in each section.
  • Which props look like they represent Mathinna’s Aboriginal heritage and which represent European colonisation?
  • Why do some of the props seem to be outlined in white and some seem more realistic and solid?
  • What is the voice-over component referring to. What is being spoken about?
  • What colour is the doll’s dress?
  • Which sounds and instruments can you hear in each section?
  • What might the glass jars represent?
  • Why are the other dancers wearing red dresses too? Who might they be?
  • Why does Mathinna remove her dress?

Societies and Cultures

The production Mathinna describes a girl’s journey between two cultures.

  • Why do you think the choreographer chose to develop this dance theatre production based on the story of the Aboriginal girl Mathinna?
  • The performance is on a stage in a theatre. Is this a traditional or contemporary place for Aboriginal people to dance?

 

FOR YEARS 9/10

Pose questions that remind them of their experience.

  • What is the sequence of movements in section 1 – Father?
  • What is the prop that this dancer holds?
  • Describe the dancer’s costume and stage makeup .
  • How many dancers are in section 2 – Nursery?
  • What are the objects on the stage and what type of room do they represent?
  • What are the dancers’ costumes?
  • What is the sequence of events in section 2 and how do the dancers interact with the props?
  • What is content of the voice over? What is the source? (letter from Mathinna)
  • Describe the props in section 3 – Moonshine.
  • Have you seen the central performer in one of the other sections?

Identify some of the main ideas and select and clarify information from the students’ responses.

  • What could the significance of the rock be in section 1 – Father?
  • Approximately what age is Mathinna in section 2 – Nursery?
  • Where is section 2 set?
  • How would you describe the costumes of the women (culturally and historically)?
  • What is the source/s of the design for these costumes?
  • Approximately what age is Mathinna in section 3 – Moonshine, and how many other dancers are on stage in this scene?

The dance theatre production of Mathinna tells of the disruption that occurred as British settlers relocated the Aboriginal people from their tribal lands, intervening in their cultural practices as they imposed modern European values and systems into their lives.

  • What long-term impacts of imperialism on Aboriginal lives are described in Mathinna?
  • What influence did John and Jane Franklin have on the colony of Hobart?
  • What living conditions are represented (European, Aboriginal)?
  • Which examples of technological development are shown in the dance?
  • What political and philosophical ideas led to the deportation of Aborigines to Flinders Island and the ‘adoption’ of Mathinna by the Franklins?
  • What factors may have caused Mathinna’s death at such a young age?

Collect, compare and categorise facts and opinions.

Movement and meaning

  • Describe the way the dancer in Father uses his hands.
  • Can you tell what he feels about the thing he holds?
  • Why does Mathinna need to put on socks and shoes?
  • What instrument does the dancer who represents Lady Jane ‘play’?
  • How can you tell that Mathinna is still quite young?
  • Describe her movements.  Does she look comfortable?
  • Why does the dancer Elma Kris look so different in sections 2 and 3? What has happened to her character?
  • Describe the use of space in section 3.  What is the significance of the change in levels?
  • Describe the movements of the other dancers in red. In what way are they supporting the soloist? Draw the spatial relationships in this section.
  • What is the relationship between the dancers and the audience? Do any of the dancers look at the audience? Why?
  • Analyse the structure of these three sections of the dance with reference to use of:

Non movement aspects

  • Describe the stage set including the colour of the background, floor, props and the lighting (colour, brightness, point/s of focus) in each section.
  • Which props look like they represent Mathinna’s Aboriginal heritage and which represent European colonisation?
  • Why do some of the props seem to be outlined in white and some seem more realistic and solid?
  • Which language is the voice-over speaking? What are some key aspects of this text?
  • What colour is the doll’s dress? Why is this significant?
  • Describe the features of the soundtrack in each section?
  • What might the glass jars represent in section 3?
  • Why do the other dancers’ costumes match Mathinna’s? What/who might they symbolise?
  • Mathinna removes her dress. What is the significance of this use of a costume?

Societies and Cultures

  • The production Mathinna describes a girl’s journey between two cultures.
    • Why might the choreographer have chosen to develop the dance based on the story of the Aboriginal girl Mathinna?
    • From the sections you have viewed evaluate how successfully Steven Page achieved this.
    • The performance is on a stage in a theatre. Is this a traditional or contemporary place for Aboriginal people to dance?

Based on Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) Level 3 statements from the Critical and creative thinking learning continuum for generating ideas, possibilities and actions, Reflecting on thinking and processes and Analysing, synthesising and evaluating reasoning and procedures areas. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Australia (CC BY NC SA) licence. Accessed June 2013.