OzAsia Review: Hello My Name Is…

Many parties were complicit in the atrocities committed after Indonesia invaded and occupied Timor-Leste in 1975, and Hello My Name Is… holds them all accountable.

It’s a topic of particular resonance for Portuguese director Paulo Castro and the Timorese-born Jose Da Costa, who patrols the stage in fatigues for the duration of this one man play.

Text from poet and playwright Edward Bond’s Choruses After The Assassinations is interspersed with scenes around empty desks that bear the names of the international delegates who held the fate of a nation in their hands. Bond’s texts depict the aftermath of war without specifying the location or the conflict and are used verbatim.

Fleeing civilians are compared to birds looking in vain for a place to build a new nest in a burned forest and Da Costa’s delivery has more than a hint of weary resignation as he catalogues the devastation. Between these monologues he jumps between perspectives and languages with unsettling rapidity; one minute he is paying respects to the dead and the next he is wielding a cross like a machine gun.

And all the time, the empty tables remain silent while civilians die. Special scorn is reserved for Ali Alatas and Gareth Evans, who drank champagne and carved up the oil riches of the impoverished region as the massacres continued. The mood is lightened somewhat by Da Costa’s gallows humour but there is no happy ending here. This is the story of a tragedy that happened within living memory and it ends, as it begins, with death.

Hello My Name Is… was performed at Nexus Arts on Thursday 8 November at 7pm

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