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Kids Killing Kids

In November 2011, four Australian playwrights travelled to Manila to collaborate with site-specific experimental theatre company The Sipat Lawin Ensemble on a stage adaptation of Japanese pulp thriller Battle Royale.

Battalia Royale was attended by more than 4,500 people, and by the final performance, international media outlets the likes of Reuters, CNN, BBC and Al-Jazeera were attending the show and drilling cast and creatives alike with the same question: ‘Has the kids-killing-kids craze gone too far?’

And has it? Was it reckless to produce a piece of glossy, hedonistic pulp-violence in a country where teenagers of the very same age as our characters are being dragged in to a civil war, armed and forced to kill each other? How did the cast feel about being idolised as sadistic mass-murderers? And what happens when a team of naive Australian writers come face to face with an experimental Filipino theatre company?

Kids Killing Kids is a part-narrative, part-documentary dissection of the project by members of Sipat Lawin and their Australian collaborators employing performance and rehearsal footage, interviews, personal stories, open discussion and reenactment to reflect on the qualities of cross-cultural collaboration, contemporary Filipino culture and the nature of onstage violence.

Myself, Sam Burns-Warr, Georgie McAuley and Jordan Prosser created Kids Killing Kids in 2013, as an attempt to get to grips with the Battalia Royale experience. (You can read more about the Battalia experience here.)

We were backed by MKA producer Glyn Roberts, who encouraged us to make the work into a full theatre show, and found us funding and support. Director Bridget Balodis came on board and helped us shape our story into a work of documentary theatre, and we presented a season at the North Melbourne Town Hall.

There was a strong response to the show – packed audiences and heated debates, like a much smaller version of the controversy around Battalia Royale itself. You can read a sample of people’s reactions in this review round-up – it was a divisive work, to put it bluntly.

Kids Killing Kids was awarded Best Experimental Performance of Melbourne Fringe 2013, and toured to Sydney and Newcastle.

In 2014, we presented a new version of the work for the Next Wave Festival in Melbourne. This time, we were joined by five members of Sipat Lawin: JK Anicoche, Ninya Bedruz, Ness Roque, Sarah Salazar and Alon Segarra. And once again, the work sold out, and once again, the reactions were strongly divided – see this review round-up from our second season.

Finally, in 2015 we worked with Jesse Cox at ABC Radio National to create an audio version of the work. You can read an article about the project here, or head here to listen to the podcast.

Directed by Bridget Balodis
Designed by Melanie Koomen

All images by Sarah Walker.

Gobyerno

GOBYERNO PROJECT Sipat Lawin Ensemble from JK Anicoche on Vimeo.

Gobyerno (Government) is a participatory performance inviting audiences to form and perform their ideal government, create their own ruling bodies and develop a national constitution.

That government is manifested first through a process of conversations and discussions, and then by devising and filming a documentary about their ideas.

The documentary is filmed as a high-energy long-take, with the participants responsible for every aspect – the camera, art, performance, music, script, set, the whole thing – to a formula we provide them. It’s a 2.5 hour show, and a marathon, every time.


image by jordan prosser

Since 2015, Gobyerno has been presented in Seoul, Darwin, Tokyo, Manila, Castlemaine, the Gold Coast and Yokohama.

Director – JK Anicoche
Writer – David Finnigan
Dramaturg – Ness Roque
Production manager – Alon Segarra
Production designer – Ralph Lumbres
Facilitation/stage managers – Claudia Enriquez & Adrienne Vergara
Musical score – Chris Finnigan
Filmmaker – Brandon Relucio

A review from the 2016 Darwin Festival in RealTime magazine.


pics by jordan prosser

44 Sex Acts In One Week

A romantic comedy about ecological crisis.

Lifestyle blogger Celina Valderrama is given the job of reviewing new book ‘The 44 Sex Acts That Will Change Your Life’. Celina has until Friday to try out all 44 acts – but the only partner available is her arch-nemesis, animal activist Alab Delusa.

Now, it’s a race against time as Celina and Alab run the gamut of the human sexual experience. From vanilla to kinky, dress-ups to BDSM, pegging to orgies, the reluctant partners must pull off an Olympian feat of endurance stunt fucking.

Over the course of one epic week, will the friction between these two sworn enemies turn into something more?

Presented as a ‘live sex gig’ by Moonshine & Tits (Bec Massey and Sheridan Harbridge) at Belvoir Theatre in December 2020.

‘With copious bodily fluids and graphic intimacy – plus the ever-present threat of a dying planet – 44 Sex Acts in One Week feels both like a fantasy (remember touching people?) and also far too real. Luckily for us, that’s playwright David Finnigan’s (Kill Climate Deniers) sweet spot. … You’ve probably been waiting all year for something to make you laugh this hard. What a treat.’
– Cassie Tongue, Sydney Morning Herald

44 Sex Acts In One Week has been shortlisted for the 2019 Patrick White Award, the 2020 Griffin Playwrights Award, longlisted for the 2020 Soho Theatre Verity Bargate Award.

Pics by Brett Boardman.

Break Into The Aquarium

For everyone who’s ever dreamed of pulling off a heist on a major tourist attraction.

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Break Into The Aquarium is a show about the future of nature. How is humanity’s relationship with the wild changing? How are our choices today shaping the ecology of the coming decades and centuries?

For this project, David worked with biologists, zookeepers and activists to explore possible future scenarios for non-human species, and to plan a large-scale raid on a high-profile aquarium.

Taking in guerilla rewilding projects, efforts to bring extinct species back from the dead, bio-activists seeking to leave messages in chicken DNA, urban evolution and Jean-Claude Van Damme’s plan to introduce rhinos to Australia, Break Into The Aquarium is a tour of possible futures for the wild.

This show does not endorse criminal activity. But it does, it does, it does.

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Break Into The Aquarium was commissioned by Nesta for FutureFest 2020.