words into what’s in store. I find him at the hotel pool dressed in gold Kylie Minogue-style budgie smugglers. He looks me up and down with a regal gaze and extends a hand. “You can call me Teddy,” he says.
Dr YaYa is calling the hotel’s presidential suite “home” for the duration of festival season and will address club-goers each night from a fifth floor balcony. “Come. Let’s talk.”
I’m nervous, confused and amused. I know Dr YaYa is a character played by an actor but I feel like I’m a child again. I’m completely sucked in by the narrative going on around me and the fictitious stories he weaves about his life. And herein lies the beauty of Cobham and Ganf’s creations. They take participatory theatre seriously and it’s convincing stuff.
As the fine line between makebelieve and reality is blurred, the audience becomes the main “character”.
Surrender will be a magical place of dress-ups, food, music, satire and silliness but behind the entertainment lies political undertones and strong artistic statements. It even has an Abbottproof fence.
“I’m all for an open society,” says YaYa. “Everyone is welcome into this place and I would hope they will take on the role of a Surrenderenesian, which is a person who really, really proposes some radical changes in this country. I don’t want to be Russell Brand-ish about this with my enthusiasm but in a way it is similar.” He pauses. “We have to promote art. I just don’t see why society isn’t more artistic. Why don’t people talk about art all the time? I think it’s just crazy that people are living on the surface of life.”
Themed nights, participatory experiences and a healthy dash of the absurd are planned.
“Don’t miss out,” says YaYa before security whisks him away. “Here is the place to be. It’s where it’s at, baby.” Surrender holds 1500 people and is open February 20 to March 15, Fri-Sun, 6pmlate, $10 entry (free before 7.30pm). Entry to InterContinental Plaza is via the southern landing of the river bridge, North Tce, city.