FORGET THE HETERO ‘HUNGER GAMES – ATTEND – ‘BATTLE ROYALE’ – The Stage Show.
Now, THIS is bloody cool. This is how to get the new generation on stage. Would so go.
In November 2011, Australian playwrights David Finnigan, Sam Burns-Warr, Georgie McAuley and Jordan Prosser travelled to the Philippines to work with the contemporary theatre group Sipat Lawin Ensemble on a month-long collaborative devising process. At the end of the workshopping and devising phase, a 177-page script was produced for the site-specific re-telling of Koushun Takami’s infamous novel (and its subsequent film spin-off), Battle Royale.
The loose adaptation sees the story of 40 high school children kidnapped and subjected to a sadistic totalitarian government program, in which they are each pitted against one another in a spiralling sequence of fight-to-the-death vignettes. Only one student can win. Only one will survive. Best friends and school bullies are pitted against their high school sweethearts, the loners and jocks come up against the rock band kids and science nerds, armed to the teeth and hell-bent on survival. It’s like Kill Bill meets Degrassi Junior High.
In February, the Sipat Lawin Ensemble will perform their version, Battalia Royale, for a full month across two venues; the first, on the outside facade of Manila’s prestigious Cultural Centre for the Philippines, and the second, in the decrepit ruins of Fort Santiago, previously a colonial-era Spanish prison where Philippine nation hero José Rizal was imprisoned before his political execution.
Having put our collective sweat, tears, and perhaps more blood than necessary in to the script so far, we seek the funds to be able to send one of the playwrights back to Manila in February 2012, and see the project through to its completion. By documenting the performance itself, we aim to retrofit the script with Sipat Lawin’s special brand of brave theatre-making, and complete the final draft with an eye to further collaborations and productions
Filipino acting group Sipat Lawin Ensemble is collaborating with Australian playwrights David Finnigan, Jordan Prosser, Sam Burns-Warr, and Georgie McAuley, to adapt the 2000 Japanese novel-turned-film “Battle Royale” onto the outdoors stage. Battle Royale depicts a Japanese dystopian society in which every year, a middle school class is chosen to engage in a battle to the death with each other.
Sipat Lawin Ensemble’s “Battalia Royale” features over 40 actors with former children’s television host Luisito “Bodjie” Pascua (Batibot) playing the part of the homeroom teacher. The interactive performance debuted last week in the nation’s capital of Manilla and was open to the public. According to a Facebook post, the SLE announced over 900 people came to watch the performance outside of the Cultural Center of the Philippines on its final day.