Edinburgh Festival 2013: Fight Night - An interactive cross between Big Brother and an Italian general election
Paul Vallely is Associate Editor of The Independent where he writes on social, ethical, political and cultural issues. He writes leaders, features and has a weekly column in the Independent on Sunday. He was co-author of the report of the Commission for Africa and has chaired several development charities.
Wednesday 07 August 2013
A great play can leave the audience stunned into silence but a good one can have people leaving the theatre in a ferment of excitement – which is what happened with Fight Night. The bar of the Traverse Theatre was abuzz with debate.
The company’s general manager was bombarded with questions in the corridor. There were animated discussions at the bus stop in the Lothian Road. One member of the audience got so over-excited that she even accosted a member of the cast during the performance asking questions.
At the start of Fight Night the audience is given a small interactive voting device before five candidates parade out onto the stage and the spectators are asked to vote for one – knowing the bottom one will be eliminated. No basis is given on which to select.
What follows is a cross between Big Brother and an Italian general election. It is a study of the dynamics of voting systems but one which is utterly compelling and fun. Aptly it has been put together by a theatrical coalition from Belgium, Australia and the UK, centred on the Drum Theatre in Plymouth. It ends differently every night.
The show goes beyond the psychology of voting systems to confront us with the prejudices that underpin our personal politics. Occasionally its internal logic is dodgy but you will leave stimulated, annoyed, intrigued and perhaps having learned something about yourself from which you were trying to hide.
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