Nakkiah Him Finds “Pathos and Heart” in Apocalyptic Survivalism

“I think it’s a really interesting community to take inspiration from comedy,” Lui said of the international apocalypse preparation movement, which she first discovered through documentary shows like National Geographic’s Preparers for the end of the world, before launching herself into the rabbit hole on the Internet.

“There are so many extremes, but it also connects very deeply to your humanity; what are we trying to do? Why do we survive? What do we think the world will look like? after the end of the world? I think it was just ripe to write on.

Having first made a name for himself as a playwright (his 2017 Christmas comedy Black is the new white reached South Australian audiences as part of the State Theater Company’s 2019 season), Lui has been increasingly focused on screen lately, with an HBO show in development alongside recent appearances in the writers room for the ABC drama Total control and the Stan / Hulu period comedy Great.

In PreparersHe and co-creator Gabe Dowrick, who is also her husband, swap Armageddon-obsessed Americans typically seen building bunkers and stockpiling supplies for a group of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders – as well as ‘a handful of non-Indigenous people. ins. The motley group is preparing their isolated community of Eden 2 for a list of disaster scenarios, including “world wars, civil wars, nuclear wars, race wars, alien invasions, overpopulation, bushfires, tidal waves, climate change, [and] super volcanoes ”, when Lui character Charlie arrives.

Indigenous people are a bit like the first survivors

A breakfast presenter in the midst of what Lui describes as “her own personal apocalypse,” Charlie returns to her family’s country estate to find that Nanna has handed it over to the chief preparer, Uncle Monty (Jack Charles), under a “10,000-year legally binding lease for the continued survival of indigenous peoples”.

“Charlie is a character who is the epitome of the ‘good aboriginal’ – who somehow comes from a pretty racist place,” Lui says of his character’s attempt to assimilate, which ends in a career implosion reminiscent of The appearance of Him in the acclaimed ABC satire finale Get Krack! N.

“Charlie tried to create this life where she did whatever she thinks was right – or ‘White’ – just to survive, but created this golden cage and has no idea who she is or any hope for. future. So in a way, in order for her to find a future, she has to burn everything around her. “

Nakkiah Him as Charlie – a character she says is a character who is the epitome of the “good aboriginal”. Photo: ABC

This episode of Get Krack! N, a funny but searing Australian TV indictment that saw Him play a fictional parody of herself, has since become the subject of enough culture wars to make anyone want to go into hiding.

“I realized after [Preppers] was written, and we had finished production, that somehow I was maybe wondering if I could survive this on my own – and maybe I was exploring that through the character of Charlie. How do you survive this kind of outrage, cancellation, and how do you find some kind of empowerment in your life and career? “

The Kind of Survival Charlie Finds in Eden 2 Is What He Said Gave Preparers his “pathos and his heart”.

“When I got really interested in these shows, I started to think, what the hell I do you think the world will look like? Then I had this thought: well, 1788 was kind of an apocalypse for the native people. Houses and families destroyed in all these disastrous ways; people speculate on the end of the world – that pass. So I was like, well, the Natives are kind of like the original survivors, it would be a bit silly not to start the preparation for the apocalypse all over again.

This idea allowed Him to explore a different kind of Prepper community than the ones she had seen onscreen before.

“I think the performances of a lot of these shows that I really liked tended to be a lot of white men, and what ‘survival’ looks like to them. In the shows I watched, and that’s a generalization, but it was often quite combative, and harsh and violent. But I remember this couple who were more progressive and hippie, and they were like, “We’re going to give everyone our vegetables!” “

“We might have this idea of ​​who the doomsday planners and survivors are, but I know that for me, my family – my parents, my grandparents – they survived so much, and yet they were able to. create hope. With Preparers, that’s what we ultimately wanted to do, create a show that speaks of hope and community at the end of the day.

Not just for storing ammunition – or toilet paper?

“I couldn’t have predicted it would have been toilet paper,” she laughs at the last-minute panic preparation that unfolded across Australia last year, “and none of those doomsday chili peppers in the shows I researched He never came!

Preppers will air on ABC TV starting Wednesday, November 10.

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This article is supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.

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