Masks help build Con­fi­dence

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Theatre - Tanya MacNaughton

THE Con­fi­dence Man­has been many years in the mak­ing for direc­tor and co-writer Zoe Pep­per.

Fol­low­ing a Mel­bourne sea­son in 2013, the in­ter­ac­tive au­dio-driven work, pre­sented by Perth Theatre Com­pany and cre­ated by Side Pony Pro­duc­tions, puts six au­di­ence mem­bers on­stage as the sole per­form­ers of the show.

Wear­ing masks and head­sets, the vol­un­teers are guided through the piece by lis­ten­ing to in­di­vid­ual nar­ra­tion, a sound­track and pre-recorded dia­logue for their char­ac­ter.

“To clar­ify that, the six play­ers are on their own dis­crete au­dio chan­nel, one for each char­ac­ter, that has a mix­ture of dia­logue, in­struc­tions and in­ner thought about what’s go­ing on dur­ing the sce­nario,” Pep­per said.

“And then the peo­ple round the perime­ter (au­di­ence) each have a smart­phone with the six faces of the six dif­fer­ent char­ac­ters and they can chan­nel be­tween the au­dio of the dif­fer­ent char­ac­ters.

“Ev­ery­one watch­ing builds their own story and chooses their own ver­sion, like a choose-your-own-adventure, which is great in pro­vok­ing dis­cus­sion af­ter the show be­cause no one un­der­stand­ing of the story is com­pletely the same.”

Pep­per said she had been more stunned by the similarities than dif­fer­ences, as far as repli­cat­ing the same per­for­mance with a com­pletely dif­fer­ent au­di­ence mem­ber.

The 45-minute pro­duc­tion is a crime thriller meets fam­ily drama where an old friend vis­its a fam­ily and brings with him a big bag of cash and a whole pile of trou­ble.

Any­one in­ter­ested in be­ing in the show should ar­rive half an hour early and speak to the box of­fice staff.

“I’m a per­son who hates au­di­ence par­tic­i­pa­tion so the chal­lenge for me was to make a show with par­tic­i­pa­tion in a way that I would want to par­tic­i­pate my­self,” Pep­per said.

“The masks have a big part to play in that in the way you’re anony­mous, you don’t have to speak and only fol­low the in­struc­tions.

“It’s very ac­tion-driven and we don’t give you enough time to think and be self-con­scious.”

Pic­ture: Mar­cus Whisson­mu­ni­ d436602

Direc­tor Zoe Pep­per with masks and a char­ac­ter from The Con­fi­dence Man.

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