they vote with their feet

“Did you make the right choices tonight? Take a look at the people you’re sat with. Recall the moment you sat down at this table this evening. Are you looking at the same people?”

they vote with their feet explores themes of democracy and choice in performance by presenting its participants with the opportunity to shape the course of their evening.

Instructed by a hidden narrator heard through a pair of radio frequency wireless headphones, participants are led to two identically laid dinner tables, where they give themselves a new name, worn on a badge and displayed to their new table-mates.

Participants are then are given three cards depicting three very different parties, and have to choose as a group which party they would like to be at: the birthday party, dinner party, or tea party. As the chosen party is then created around them, they become aware that the narrator in their ears is reacting in real time to what is happening and being said – good jokes get applauded; shaking hands is encouraged. There is freedom for playing, partying and competing to have the best time – choose well and the table becomes the envy of the room, but choose badly and, come crunch time, there’s always the option to abandon your party and head to the other table.

With social politics, table envy and competition at the heart of the piece, the narrators ultimately ask participants if the grass really is greener on the other side, giving them the chance to change their evening entirely.

“Choose a persona, choose to have the most fun, choose to interact, choose to dance on the table, choose to have a slice of cake or an olive or two, and finally choose to win or lose…”

they vote with their feet was performed at the BAC scratch festival in September 2009 as part of non zero one’s on-going research and development around choice, competition and teamwork.

Image credit: Gavin Mckenzie

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