The Inside Crack #1 – Kids Killing Kids
article written by: Cassandra Ramsay
KIDS KILLING KIDS
by David Finnigan, Sam Burns-Warr, Georgie McAuley and Jordan Prosser
Can a work of fiction exist without context? Can a good story exist purely for a story’s sake, or does it need an agenda?
Kids Killing Kids – part documentary, part narrative examination written, devised and performed by Sam Burns-Warr, Georgie McAuley, Jordan Prosser and Crack Theatre Festival co-founder David Finnigan – explores these questions in a response to Battalia, their work with Filipino theatre company Sipat Lawin Ensemble.
Battalia was a promenade performance of the Japanese cult book / film Battle Royale by Koushun Takami. A modern day Lord of the Flies and foreshadowing The Hunger Games, Battle Royale is a bloody, violent and stylish battle where 40 Japanese school students are kidnapped as part of a government regime experiment and forced to kill one another until only one student survives.
In an unexpected turn of events, Battalia had a number of successful seasons and became a cult sensation. “We started seeing fan art, fan fiction, dedicated blogs and fan clubs, people lining up after the show to get photographs with dead bodies of characters” says co-creator Jordan Prosser.
“We, and Sipat, essentially lost control, and became observers ourselves to a very different type of show – the crowd. The mob.”
As audiences grew, performers burned out and critics divided between ‘significant art’ or ‘sensationalist pulp’ the four Australian playwrights and Sipat began being haunted by their work.
“What place do four middle-class white dudes have writing a graphically violent play about school children murdering each other in a country built on multiple centuries of brutal occupation, civil war and bloodshed?
“Where even now, in the southern islands, children are kidnapped and forced into guerrilla armies?” questions Jordan.
And so using stimulus from every anecdote, every tweet, and every blog and featuring soundscapes from across Manila and script excerpts, the four have pulled their unique experience out of isolation and experimented with a theatrical interrogation.
“This is a bit of a first for us” reflects Jordan. “This concept, the format, the process everything.
“We spent ages discussing what the best avenue for discussing the Battalia process would be, [but] maybe it’s best to keep your responses to a piece of work within the family the initial work it belongs to. Maybe your insight will be sharper and your observations and parallels clearer and more relevant. Maybe? We will find out.”
As well as playing at Crack Theatre Festival, Kids Killing Kids will run for three weeks at the Melbourne Fringe Festival in September, and for a week the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, Penrith, in October.