Out­back sur­vival test

New se­ries is lots of fluff and trou­ble, writes Dar­ren Cartwright

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - WEDNESDAY EXTRA -

IMAG­INE be­ing dropped into the West Aus­tralian Out­back with all the food and sur­vival gear pos­si­ble but you can only take what you can carry on a five-day sur­vival ad­ven­ture. What would you choose? That’s the co­nun­drum fac­ing half a dozen cock­tail bar work­ers in the first of the four-episode sur­vival ad­ven­ture re­al­ity se­ries Do or Die. Pos­si­bly best de­scribed as a mix of

Sur­vivor, Big Brother and The Amaz­ing Race, Do or Die tests the com­mu­ni­ca­tion and sur­vival skills of co-work­ers un­der ex­treme and harsh con­di­tions in Out­back Western Aus­tralia.

The six liquor in­dus­try work­ers from a trendy Sydney cock­tail bar are the first to be put through the har­row­ing sur­vival test by cor­po­rate work­place psy­chol­o­gist and out­door ad­ven­turer Dr Travis Kemp.

‘‘We wanted to show­case WA and we wanted to pick some of the most in­hos­pitable phys­i­cal en­vi­ron­ments you could ever find on the planet – and we were lucky to find three or four of those in WA,’’ Dr Kemp says. ‘‘The con­tes­tants are all con­fronted with dif­fer­ent en­vi­ron­ments, each iso­lated and chal­leng­ing in their own way.’’

The staff of the bar, which is called Gold­fish, are dumped in min­ing salt lakes and given 15 min­utes to de­cide what they will take with them on the five-day hike.

A male team mem­ber pon­ders if they need to take the fold­ing-chair toi­let seat so the fe­males will be com­fort­able on the Out­back quest.

As time ticks by, Dr Kemp’s frus­tra­tion in­creases as he watches no de­ci­sions be­ing made and a lack of lead­er­ship.

He says the four dif­fer­ent teams that take on the chal­lenges are briefed on the safety as­pect of their jour­ney but lit­tle else is re­vealed.

The ex­er­cise is as much about com­mu­ni­ca­tion and lead­er­ship as is it as about gen­eral knowl­edge and lat­eral think­ing, he says.

‘‘The na­ture of the ad­ven­ture is there is an un­cer­tainty about what is go­ing to hap­pen,’’ Dr Kemp says.

‘‘When you throw peo­ple into sit­u­a­tions where they are fun­da­men­tally out of their depth, they go through a sim­i­lar process of try­ing to make sense of what they need to do and fluff­ing around try­ing to make some ini­tial de­ci­sions.

‘‘We saw that con­sis­tently across all four episodes.’’

‘‘We didn’t pro­vide a huge amount of ed­u­ca­tional com­po­nent up front," Dr Kemp says.

Be­sides cock­tail bar work­ers, the other teams are made up of six real es­tate agents, five fe­male re­cruit­ment agency work­ers and half a dozen male cre­ative ‘‘geeks’’.

The sec­ond episode is set in WA’s Broke In­let fol­lowed by the Kim­ber­ley’s and a ma­jor na­tional park.

Adding to the dif­fi­cul­ties fac­ing the par­tic­i­pants, the se­ries was filmed dur­ing sum­mer when weather con­di­tions are at their most ex­treme.

Do Or Die: Wed­nes­days, 8.30pm, ABC2.

Do or Die host Dr Travis Kemp (left).

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