We're all Peeping Toms now

If Platform's mix of sex and terror doesn't unsettle, the seating plan will

An Adaptation of the provocative French novel by Michel Houellebecq, Platform is about a French sex tourist in Thailand who goes on to turn Club-Med-style resorts into sexual playgrounds. During the rolling performances - five a night, each lasting an hour - the audience sit isolated in peep-show cubicles, observing the protagonist, Michel Renault, alone in his apartment after a sex-tourism binge has been brutally terminated by a terror-ist attack on the resort. It promises to be a profoundly lonely theatrical experience.

There are six individual cubicles that look in on four separate but identical rooms, where four actors play Renault simultaneously. "It's an anthropological exercise - he sleeps, takes a shower and eats," says the director Sacha Wares, who co-directed Guantanamo, the orange-suited stage recreation of the US detention centre, in the West End and off Broadway. While the audience watches the banal surface details of Renault's life, he recounts his life story to them via headphones.

Wares regards the drama as "a subtle warning about the dangerous consequences of Western commercial values. The idea of theatre is normally that you are creating a collective live experience for an audience. Platform is so much about Western isolation, alienation and loneliness that I wanted to find a production form that would express that. Each audience member, being left alone with the internal thoughts of this man will create the opposite of your usual theatre experience."

The show is designed by the Linbury Prize-winner Miriam Buether, who collaborated with Wares on the production of Bintou at the Arcola Theatre in 2002. Then, the audience were confronted on the street by actors, told where to sit - some behind wire - and exposed to a performance by a 'girl gang' that included fights and dogs and took place all around them. "We were exploring the audience's physical relationship to the action at a basic level," says Ware. "Platform is the next step for us. Where do you situate the audience in relation to the action? Here the audience are again positioned right in the middle of the action. How does that affect their imaginative experience of it?"

Much of the tape heard via the earphones is deliberately erotic. "In the novel, when he is visiting Thai prostitutes, Renault is telling you in detail what that experience is like; how he looks at her and what she does. This is why we decided to do the piece this way - there is something about having that experience whispered directly into your ear that is far more evocative."

At the end of the novel, Michel is left in this room with no friends, family or relationships. "What is challenging about the novel is that you don't really realise exactly where the story is going, because of all the sexual description. But the writer has a political purpose - to expose sexual tourism, terrorism and the rise of the multinational corporation."

'Platform', ICA, London SW1 (020-7930 3647; www.ica.org. uk) 2-16 Dec

Arts and Entertainment
Rachel McAdams in True Detective season 2

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Off the wall: the cast of ‘Life in Squares’

TV
Arts and Entertainment

Books And it is whizzpopping!

Arts and Entertainment
Bono throws water at the crowd while the Edge watches as they perform in the band's first concert of their new world tour in Vancouver

MusicThey're running their own restaurants

Voices
The main entrance to the BBC headquarters in London
TV & Radio
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

    Solved after 200 years

    The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

    Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
    Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

    Sunken sub

    Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

    Age of the selfie

    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
    Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

    Not so square

    How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
    Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

    Still carrying the torch

    The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

    ...but history suggests otherwise
    The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

    The bald truth

    How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
    Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

    Tour de France 2015

    Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
    Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

    A new beginning for supersonic flight?

    Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
    I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

    I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

    Latest on the Labour leadership contest
    Froome seals second Tour de France victory

    Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

    Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
    Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

    The uses of sarcasm

    'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
    A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

    No vanity, but lots of flair

    A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
    Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

    In praise of foraging

    How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food