Northern Stage UK Premiere of Domini PublicDate: 14 July 2010
Making its UK premiere, Roger Bernat’s life-size board game, Domini Public comes to Newcastle’s Northern Stage for one performance only.
Ahead of a stint at the National Theatre’s Watch This Space Festival, Domini Public will be performed outside, inside and around Northern Stage on Saturday 17 July.
Audiences are given a set of headphones. Following the instructions to press play, stop and pause all at the same time, they answer a series of questions. Were you born in Newcastle? Take one step to the side. Do you always sleep on the same side of the bed? Put up your hand. Some are more innocent than others.
Through the participants’ simple movements, small groups start to form in the audience. These micro communities expose underlying social patterns and tell a tale that DOMINI PÚBLIC carefully orchestrates. What starts off looking like a 3D poll brought to life, ends up transforming into a bizarre life-size board game where the audience members are the pawns.
Catalan artist Roger Bernat’s Domini Public has been performed around the world since 2008, but has yet to appear in the UK. Based on psychological experiments of the 60s and 70s this interactive theatre-piece takes much of its inspiration from the notorious 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment. Based in the basement of Stanford University, California, Psychology Professor Dr. Philip Zimbardo enlisted 24 male students to enter a mock prison for two weeks to measure the psychological and behavioural results. The students were split into two groups at random; prisoners and prison officers, with Zimbardo as Superintendent of the prison. Within six days, the experiment was closed down, so frightening were the results; prisoners accepting their positions (despite being allowed to leave at any point) and prison guards become sadistic and authoritarian.
Whilst Domini Public doesn’t go anywhere near as afar as the Stanford Experiment, it does ask audiences to question how they react to these kinds of pressures. What will you do when you are told to by someone you perceive as an authority figure? What will your choice be when you’re part of a mob? How will other people’s perception of you make you behave?
The game will take place on the lawn outside Northern Stage and move around the theatre before culminating in Stage 2 where audiences will learn how their choices and role fit into the collective experience they’ve all just been through.
Strictly 16+. Contact Northern Stage on 0191 230 5151 for more information or to book tickets or go to the Northern Stage website
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