Fleur Kilpatrick: Law and the Humanities Artist in Residence
In a rising ocean of dire facts, there is an urgent need for performative fiction about our present that confronts climate crisis with irreverence, humour and absurdity. To write about climate change in a way that empowers audiences and inspires action is to find a balance between hope and despair: too much or too little of either can paralyse.
Many artists and communicators struggle to contain the complexities of the present in their representation of climate change: getting on with life, laughing, joking, shopping, whilst living in fear. Many chose instead to approach climate change through a dystopian lens; such narratives sit within conventional dramatic structure far better than the unresolved, distress and mundanity of the present.
Through the lens of the 2017 Max Afford Award-winning play, Whale, I argue for making entertainment out of something as dire as climate emergency. My work uses comedic tactics and absurdist structures to examine Australia’s relationship with nature and our global responsibility from new narrative viewpoints. Whale embraces this moment in time, in all its banality, silliness, humour and terror.
Fleur Kilpatrick is an award-winning playwright and director with practice focused on environmental sustainability and care. She holds a postgraduate diploma of directing and a Masters in playwriting from the VCAM. She is a lecturer at Monash Centre for Theatre and Performance and the co-founder of Lonely Company, working to support emerging playwrights create sustainable careers.
Fleur’s plays have won the 2018 Max Afford Playwrights Award (Whale), 2016 Jill Blewett Award (Blessed, Poppy Seed Festival) and 2015 Melbourne Fringe’s Emerging Playwright Award (The City They Burned, Melbourne Fringe, Brisbane Festival).
In 2019, her new play Whale premiered at Northcote Townhall, her production of Slaughterhouse Five (which she directed and adapted) returned for a season at Theatre Works and her opera, Daphne will premier with Co Opera, SA. She is developing a new work with collaborator Sarah Walker about Australia's most contested landscapes.
In 2018, she made her mainstage debut with her play Terrestrial at State Theatre Company of South Australia and LZA Theatre in Sydney gave her 2013 play Yours the Face. In 2016 she directed Julius Caesar for Essential Theatre (Melbourne, Adelaide and Edinburgh) and Slaughterhouse Five for MUST.
She appears fortnightly on 3RRRs Smart Arts with Richard Watts and was the co-host of the podcast Contact Mic with Sarah Walker until 2018.
You can see a video of Fleur talking about Whale, made for one of the performances. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnwny7V_6tw