As Director Samantha Scott-Blackhall prepares for Das Experiment: Black Box, ArtZine speaks to her about her vision for the production.
To turn the Pavilion into a mock-prison and allow the audience to submerge themselves into the storyline!
“Question responsibility in any extreme situation. Everyone has the choice to good or to do bad. We come across these deciding situations everyday. Getting out of a train for example. Do you push out of the train first or let someone else out in front of you? But at the end of the day, it is not that you are ‘born’ with a hidden evil, rather you make a choice towards one thing or the other.”
In attempt to discover more about human behaviour, the team asked a psychologist to come in to help with character studies.
SSB: The play alerts me to the inherent ‘good’ and ‘evil’ that exists in all of us. It tells me that given any extreme situation or circumstance, we are given the choice to react aggressively or passively. Even though the play takes place in a mock-prison environment, one could parallel the characters with an office situation, school or amongst friends. Hierarchy is everywhere, power corrupts and someone will win and someone will lose.
Given that the actual experiment happens over 6 days but the play is only 2 hours long, time constraint becomes a problem. “You can imagine how much business and occurrences have to happen in a short amount of time. So rehearsals are testosterone filled and action packed! ” adds Samantha.
SSB: One important aspect of the play is the character journey of the guards and the prisoners. The events of the experiment determine how each character’s behaviour changes and therefore we need to be very sure of how they start and end and what triggers occur in between.
Choreography of the fight sequences has taken much time and concentrated effort to make the movement look realistic and safe. Even though the characters react in a spontaneous aggressive way, it doesn’t mean our actors have to. As responsible actors they have their fellow cast member’s safety in their hands as well as their own.
And her favourite part of the production?
SSB: The ending!…But I can’t give it away!
More about Das Experiment…
Das Experiment: Black Box
Dates: Nov 14 to Nov 29, 2008
Venue: The Pavilion – 28 China Street
Tickets are available from Sistic.
Tues – Thurs & Sun performances S$35
Fri & Sat Performances S$38
Senior Citizens S$28
Mature Themes: M16b