Little Emperors by Lachlan Philpott

Image of the play Little Emperors

Little Emperors by Lachlan Philpott (Malthouse Theatre)

Judges' Comments

Lachlan Philpott’s well-crafted play tells the story of Kaiwen, a young artist living in Melbourne while his mother and sister are in China. While making a work about the one child policy of China for a university theatre festival, his past as a second (illegal) child in a family comes to the fore.

Exploring a fascinating subject that has not been explored before in Australian theatre, this play looks at the fallout of China’s one child policy that underpinned their society for many years. Lachlan Philpott approaches the subject with great care and heart, managing to provide a clear insight into a phenomenon that rings strange for most Australians, while being faithful to the experience of a particular generation of Chinese. Philpott’s characters are portrayed with intimacy and tenderness. This is a special kind of storytelling that manages to make a very particular historical experience resonate for a much wider audience. His story of a family moving slowly back together is rendered with a particular beauty.

Image credit: Tim Grey