I sur­ren­der

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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.

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