Helmed by director Clara Solly Slade (Helpmann alum) and designer Bianka Kennedy, The Kinetik Collective was formed over a desire to collaborate with creatives across a range of disciplines to create work that that sits at the intersection of art, science, technology, accessibility and performance.
The emerging creatives joined forces “with a shared drive to create independent work within an ‘exploratory’ working model, where the design of the show is developed over a longer period of time in conjunction with the larger creative group.”
Their first outing as a collective is the divisive political satire, Kill Climate Deniers which follows a group of environmental activists as they take Parliament House hostage, demanding the government stop all fossil fuel industries, effective immediately. The show includes live techno from local composer and musician Mat Morison and digital designs from multi-disciplinary artist Dave Court.
Square Holes sat down with director Clara Solly Slade to chat about the production.
Square Holes: This is your first production as Kinetik Collective – why this play? Why now?
Clara: I think from the moment I read this play; it actually just excited me so much more than any other script that I’d read ever. It just felt so fresh and new and different. Even the layout of the script. David had released it as a graphic novel, so everything about it was kind of an invitation to experiment. On top is this silly kind of action movie spoof layer, but underlying the piece, there is this sense of urgency talking about the climate crisis, which I think has only intensified since David first wrote it.
“Some of the comedy in it is so dark, but it’s like at this point we laugh or we cry. I think there’s a relief in getting to come together to laugh at some of these issues, surrounded by people who care about them as deeply as you do.”
SH: What has been challenging about the production?
CSS: So many things! This play is huge. There are moments where we shift very rapidly between multiple worlds. For example, sometimes the play sits in a more linear, traditional storytelling form, and then sometimes when it flicks into these real abstract, bizarre scenes and spaces. So, finding the language of that has been a challenge. We have also been working with digital artist, Dave Court and learning how to use some techniques we don’t usually see in theatre, like motion capture, integrated projection and 3D scanning, which has been a huge undertaking, but also very exciting.
“Mat (the composer) and Dave (visual arts designer) have been using climate data sets to make some of the materials for the show, which is amazing. So, we’re literally surrounded by the sounds of the ecosystem collapsing.”
SH: You have been committed as a collective to doing a number of environmental actions alongside the play. What have these been?
CSS: We’ve been working with our sustainability officer Beatrice Jeavons, who has started her own group called Creative Climate Action. She’s supported us to undertake a few different environmental actions alongside the play. At the beginning of the year, we hosted an online panel discussion where we spoke about the role of the arts in conversations about climate. On that panel we had David Finnigan (playwright of Kill Climate Deniers), Royce Kurmelovs (Guardian Australia Journalist and author), and Larissa Payne (Extinction Rebellion Media Spokesperson) to discuss their experiences and the unique ways they respond to the climate conversation. Then we headed down to the beautiful Lot 50 Kanyanyapilla, a bi-cultural biodiversity regeneration project near McLaren Vale, to do some planting as a collective to offset some of our emissions that we are creating through our production. Finally, we are partnering with @reforestyourfootprint throughout our season, and will have QR codes in our performance space where audience members can offset their carbon.
SH: Kinetik Collective is a partnership between yourself and Bianka Kennedy, Co-director and Designer. What makes this dynamic special?
CSS: I think we both get excited by the same things and we really want to explore the edges and the intersections of different types of art and different spaces where this art can exist. And I feel that relationship between a director and as a designer is potentially one of the most important relationships when you’re making a work, because you’ve got to create the world through which everyone else funnels their kind of tools. You’ve got to create a cohesive framework and vision for the rest of the crew to work their magic within. It’s been a real joy for me to build this relationship with Bianca.