The Absurdity of Human Behaviour Inspires Dark Comedy
The Dead Devils of Cockle Creek is set to be a dark comedy exploring our environment and the ways we treat it and its creatures. SheBrisbane had the opportunity to chat to the play’s writer and one of its actors before its world premiere on February 10 at La Boite Theatre.
Kathryn Marquet started writing The Dead Devils of Cockle Creek in November 2016, creating the play after feeling alienated from the world. “I felt that the world was quite absurd to me, in the way of human behaviour towards the environment, towards its creatures and towards each other. I found it strange and bewildering so that inspired me to write this play.”
Described as McDonagh meets Tarantino in a biting new comedy about leading the charge for change, The Dead Devils of Cockle Creek surrounds the isolated wilds of south western Tasmania. Where an environmental scientist named George is trying to save the world one Tassie Devil at a time. Since she was a small girl George had dreamt of halting the advance of climate change, but saving a species in the middle of nowhere would have to do, for now.
Kathryn hopes that audiences laugh and enjoy themselves. “We live in quite strange and uncomfortable times, with nuclear war hanging over our heads and the climate crisis and so we need entertainment, there’s a reason why musicals are having a ressurance because people want to escape.”
“I’d also love for them to take away the deeper message and to think about their relationship with the planet, with each other and even with facts, what’s true and what’s not true.
Describing the play in three words Kathryn said it was funny, challenging and thought-provoking.
Kathryn’s belief in creating change for greater issues such as the environment is that she believes that conversation and the arts help majorly.
“As a an artist, our job is to shine a light on these issues and to ask questions without necessarily giving answers. I don’t necessarily have answers for all of our problems but I do think we can do better, that we can be more compassionate, that we can take responsibility for ourselves and that we can try to educate ourselves with the facts rather than believing everything we read on the internet.”
In the broader messages for the play Kathryn’s less interested in messages and more interested in questions. Such as how do we make change, how do we form ethical and moral judgements and how can we lay that foundation in our lives.
“I’ve always been interested in Tasmania as a kind of last fronitor in Australia for our wildlife, that there are places in Tasmania where humans rarely go.”
“The Tasmanian Tiger is an interest of mine and how we just destroyed that animal in 100 years without a second thought. The Tasmanian Devil is going the same way because of cancer and also loss of habitat. It’s just a very interesting ecosystem down there and the isolation and wilds of Tasmania definitely gives that to the play.”
Kimie Tsukakoshi plays Destinee Lee in The Dead Devils of Cockle Creek, a girl guide in Tasmania who has gotten lost in the wilderness. After getting lost she comes across the other quirky characters in the play.
Kimie’s process into her character was said be very natural, “the great thing about the play is that Destinee is a very strong, well written character so it was very much all on the page. I just read through the play a couple times and thought about how Destinee would have come to view the world the way she does. Reading the words out loud with everyone at the workshop actually really informed the way she spoke and the way she thought too.”
Kimie hopes that audience members really laugh but that they also walk away feeling challenged by the play and its message, that they walk away wanting to reassess their own life and views and how they treat the planet.
The Dead Devils of Cockle Creek is playing from 10 February to 3 March at La Boite Theatre. Purchase tickets here.