The Port Jackson Fig – also known as Damun in Dharug language or Ficus Rubiginosa – line the sandstone escarpments of Gadigal Country (in so-called Australia). Seeds are excreted in the guano of birds and flying foxes, and become lodged in rocks and the walls of buildings. Roots spread out like tendrils finding fissures in rock, spilling over to locate a firm footing in the soil.
In Philippine folk tales the Ficus Indica, or Balete tree is considered a portal that connects the three worlds: the skyworld, underworld, and the middle world of earth. They are the dwelling places for supernatural beings like the kapre (tree demon) or tikbalang (humanoid animal).
Crawling upon a refurbished planet a collaborative ecology of storytellers gather to tap deep into the grounds of their collective ancestral memory. In this space of latency miraculous forms emerge of intricate labour. Ancient babies dance megafauna in nonlinear evolutions. Seasons change in a world of sheer terror and tremendous beauty. The world of ANITO is a meeting place; a fertile petri dish incubating distinct and recombinant organisms.
- Directed, Performed and Co-conceived: Justin Talplacido Shoulder
- Production Design: Matthew Stegh and Justin Talplacido Shoulder
- Costume Design: Matthew Stegh, Anthony Aitch, Justin Talplacido Shoulder
- Sound Design and Live Score: Corin Ileto
- Performer and co-generator: Eugene Choi
- Mentor and Collaborator: Victoria Hunt
- Lighting / Vision Design: Fausto Brusamolino
- Costume Design Technicians: Brenda Lam, Anthony Aitch, Luna Aquatica
- Produced by: Jason Cross at Insite Arts
- Special thanks: Marrugeku, Carriageworks & Talking Bodies
ANITO has been supported by the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund – an Australian Government initiative; Create NSW; the Australian Government’s Major Festivals Initiative, managed by Creative Australia, its arts funding and advisory body, in association with the Confederation of Australian International Arts Festivals Inc., commissioned by RISING, Sydney Festival and MONA FOMA.
Honouring their roots in Sydney’s underground queer and diasporic club scenes the collective build on their shared histories of costume, puppetry, drag, dance, and experimental electronic music to re-imagine myths and stories for the now.