Writer: Tim Carlson
Director: Jeremy Walker with Tim Carlson
Reviewer: Tom Ralphs
A game show with a difference. Your choices can determine whether you or someone else are included on the US National Terrorist Watchlist. Theatre Conspiracy have turned the 2013 Watchlisting Guidance document into an imaginative and entertaining piece of interactive theatre that raises serious questions without lecturing the audience.
The show opens with the audience being led into a room where a man stands naked with his hands on a table. It is some time before anything happens, and a sense of unease spreads around the room, both at what is happening to the man, and what the next seventy-five minutes may contain. The tension is eventually broken as an announcement tells everyone to move into the next room and, after a short video clip to set the context, Milton Lim bursts into the space as the game show host who will guide participants through the rest of the show.
With questions used to filter the audience into different groups, different versions of the show then develop. One group of people may see the potential terrorist suspect played by Ayro Khakpour, another may watch what could be him through a screen. The questions the groups are asked may also differ. There is no way of knowing what the full story is, which is precisely the point.
Throughout the show it is clear that the audience is not simply being asked to be shocked and horrified by the arbitrary nature of the guidance and how easy it is to fall foul of it. You also become part of the other side of the story, having to make quick decisions on the basis of limited information, while also questioning your own values and what is important to you. The ending feels sudden and a little unfinished, but it’s still well worth seeing.
Runs until 27 August 2017 | Image: Contributed