Who wants to be in the office today? Who wants to be told to take alternative routes because there aren't enough drivers on the Circle Line? Who wants to choose the outcomes of something you have a direct investment in? If you do, head down to The Albany in Deptford for Who Wants To Be? tomorrow night with £10.00 and a few ideas of what you would like to do with £1,000.00...
The People Speak is a London-based collection of artists and theatre-makers who have made one further adaptation to the seemingly interminable audience-led format of entertainment. Among the vote-who-goes televised popularity contests and fraudulent phone-for-cash-prizes competitions, one more participatory event is hard to get excited about. But! Look:
The People Speak are asking each audience member to pay £10.00 for their tickets which will be added to the collective pot for tomorrow's live event. With £1,000.00 gathered - the entire lot of box office takings - the company will then use a computerised voting system, specially created animation and improvised theatre to lead a group decision making session of truly democratic and potentially surreal proportions. £1,000.00 is still a lot of money, even in London. We can think of a dozen things to do with it straightaway, which we won't go into here as the day is just too short and it's a little too close to lunchtime to be any more creative than "997 jumbo sausage rolls, two iced buns and a white coffee..."
However, it's not just what to do with the money that the audience has to decide, it's how the decision is made that is also key to the evening's success. While we are not shy about participatory events and have little problem with joining group efforts, democracy in Who Wants To Be? looks set to be of the most breathtakingly empowered kind: early test audiences apparently voted to abandon the voting system and make all decisions via dance-off contests to Jean-Michel Jarre. This was after the host had been voted off. It was decided the money would NOT be used for a month's flatshare for the entire audience in a swanky London penthouse, neither would the £1,000.00 be used for brand new canoes, but instead donated towards the development of tomorrow night's Who Wants To Be? With a precedent like that, you've got to go.
The Albany in Deptford was host to the intense, in-tents Headlines earlier in the summer and we're pleased to see the Autumn season kick off with equally interesting and original new work. Not every piece of theatre ends how the audience want it to end, and not a single premium rate phonecall has to be made or £1.50 text message sent. Groovy.
Who Wants To Be? at The Albany, Deptford, Tuesday 9 October only. Tickets cost £10.00 and will be added in entirety to the £1,000.00 central to the event. For more information and to book tickets, go to the Who Wants To Be? website here.