Monday, May 11, 2015
Out of the focus group: The Candidate @theatredeli @labcollective
It's well known that key messages espoused by politicians these days are the product of carefully considered focus groups and research. But here in the Candidate, it takes this a step further, suggesting that everything is up for grabs in shaping a new leader, presently bereft of any thought. It proves for an amusing and topical diversion.
Arriving at the rather dreary looking 119 Farringdon Road, the former offices of The Guardian, and home to Theatre Delicatessen, you are ushered into a room and told that you would be taking part in what is described as a unique polling session.
The Candidate, Omar Ibrahim, is seeking views (in this case the unsuspecting audience members) to help shape his ideals, policy and image. He can be whatever you want or need him to be, adjusted to suit the tastes of the theatregoers.
With the help of your mobile phones and some nifty technology, you join a live polling session on various issues and help formulate what type of Candidate you want and receive the real time results on screen.
You are first given a choice of five different Omars to pick from. On Saturday night our audience (or rather, our focus group), selected Omar number five. He turned out to be a bit Ed Miliband-ish in his mannerisms, with a hint of new age mysticism and bisexuality thrown in for good measure. By the end of the evening most of the audience found him rather broad minded and a little bit creepy.
Matthew Flacks plays the spin doctor who gives Omar his lines and weasel words to say and rescue Omar from being overly familiar with audience members.
It is an interesting and amusing premise watching the two spar and engage the audience in what is at first hilarious and then more thought provoking at what makes people consider someone to be worthy of leadership in the political space.
A different sort of theatrical experience. The focus groups continue through to the 16 May. Enrol in one while you can.