Comments on Das Experiment: Black Box

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Read our review of Das Experiment!

What others say about Das Experiment:
(collated by ArtZine)

  • Das Experiment was awesome! The acting was really good. It was so good that I felt slightly uncomfortable being there. It was really interesting to see how people behave under a controlled environment and given total power over something else. You really won’t know how you’ll be afterwards.” – Ethel
  • “I thought it’d be a bit gruesome, so I only asked some of the guys whom I thought may be interested in a theatre production about human behaviour and not mind gruesome stuff (which in the end was too real it had to be fake). Too naturalistic maybe, the play. But the take home message is how humans manipulate each other when they are of the same rank to achieve a certain hierachy within themselves (there were obvious leaders among the prisoners and the guards).Also, how the prisoners and guards immerse themselves too much into their roles such that although it’s only an experiment, the prisoners submit themselves to the guards’ torture and the guards abuse their power so freely. The whole agression and obedience idea was better explained in the really cool programme booklet. Oh and I learnt of “superhuman” strength where the prison bars seemed like plastic bars and could be pulled out by a prisoner to escape.” – Mei Ting
  • “I especially loved Das Experiment. It wasn’t as dark as i thought it would be. A bonus for me was that there was drama (i.e. movement) happening at more than one place at once. I thought that the main characters were awesome! Well worth the money. Downside though is that it’s free seating. Other than that, i give it a 8/10! =) Go watch! It’s rather disturbing and at the end of it, I was rather horrified by some scenes and had to grab on to Kelvin. So yeah, go treat yourself to the play! =) – QingQing
  • “It was a small, local production about 15 who participate in a prison simulation experiment for two weeks. The experiment begins smoothly, but quickly deteriorates as the guards developed authoritarian tendencies. As time progresses, the guards go to great lengths to conceal their actions and keep the experiment running, and the prisoners resist as best they can. Essentially, the play was about power, about people who abuse them and victims who fall prey to them. It reminded me of the cruelty of the corporate world.” – Streets
  • “Das Experiment. A play in which Scientists put a group of people in a mock prison environment, some to be guards and others prisoners. Unbelievable how the mind works. In the play, the volunteers get so into it that the guards start torturing the prisonerss, even denying them of medical treatment till deaths occur. No one’s that resillient I guess.”
  • “For sure, it’s only theatre – but the process of dehumanisation is so in your face, you cannot help but feel a tinge of guilt at having been seduced into savouring each sadistic moment. The verdict? Here’s a theatrical experiment so effective, it’s, well, criminal.” – Today, Mayo Martin
  • “I watched the gala perfomance of ‘Das Experiment: Black Box’. The play is based on a book written by Mario Giordano, which was made into a film, and which in turn was all based on the infamous Stanford Prison Experiment in the 1960s, which revealed (more than was intended I suspect)  many aspects of human behaviour, social conditioning, roles, reality and illusion.What I really liked was the interesting use of an unconventional place to stage the play (it was performed at the Far East Auditorium at Far East Square) and the design of the sets. (The set used in the film was mirrored in the set of the play.)” – Irwin
  • “Totally emotionally harrowing, we were grabbing each other like, OMG HE CAN’T DO THATTT.” – Victoria
  • “Everyone who can MUST go and see it. It is a brilliant polemic on what it means to be human and an incisive study of power and human relations under particular stressing and dire consequences. I felt that the space and setting was used rather effectively though it gave the impression of clutter in certain areas. The acting was good – brilliant in fact, for the leading characters. I thought the ‘doctors’ were not that good though, perhaps due to a lack of real character development. Again there were too many layers and too many possible ways of analysing that so many questions are thrown up without being ableto be answered adequately. The shock, tension, and anger aroused is very commendable on the part of the actors. Certain moments created a huge impact and impression, the actors must be applauded.I did also feel that there was a disproportionate development of character for the characters, which I guess is inevitable given the numbers and their relative importance. The lead male actor is absolutely brilliant. He deserves a standing ovation.On a personal level, I found many uncanny similarities with BMT. Surprise surprise. Talk about a social study or a social experiment. The main difference is that there is a cap to the amount of power and authority in the military, in the real world. But the very fact that the play is based on a real incident says enough about humans and the possibilities of abuse, given the right cocktail of circumstances.

    I noted some very subtle political criticism with the constant references to ‘internal security’ and ‘only doing our job’ etc. What I did like about the play was how the divide between stage and audience, reality and unreality, seemed to slowly merge right from the beginning. By the end of the play, who – actors and audience – could be said to be solely and merely ‘spectators’ to these unfortunate turn of events? As the play progressed, I began to wonder how I myself would have reacted under those situations and it was dreadfully frightening to see little bits of me appearing on stage now and when I least expected it. It was as if something out from the dark reached out to remind me of the horror and extremities of emotions I once felt.

    Many questions were raised, but I can safely conclude that humans are more than just wires in a box. Liberty is so important to LIFE itself. Liberty is more than just a ‘political concept’ often abused by politicians and human rights activists alike. It is something fundamental to BEING HUMAN. Yet to survive we exchange certain elements of it in return for something else – like safety and security. I felt that many humanitarian questions were raised – particularly about crime and punishment – which is impossible to be deal with alone. I feel horribly perturbed simply because there were so many contradictory ‘prototypes’ presented and it seemed to be that humans can go either way – or any way in fact! Every human being is different. Can we be simply reduced to mere generalisations and predictions?” – Sergei

  • “I just watched Das Experiment: Black Box and I’m just completely floored by it. It was awesome and that is an understatement. I could write a thesis on the the play itself, just go watch it. Anyway, the scary thing is, what really happened in the real experiment wasn’t too far off from the dramatized play. What comes to mind is the inherent evil of institutions. Symbolic objects and activities that determine a person’s mindset, beliefs and behaviour and its power to shape people into predetermined stereotypical roles is staggering. What is scary is how the institution itself can perpetuate these behaviors, and eventually create a culture that impose roles on the individuals. Can you draw a parallel? It is an institution they’ve created, the paranoia of both the leaders and culture of fear, pragmatism and apathy is enforced and perpetuated. It becomes reality.” – Tieren
  • “I watched Das Experiment today, which is seriously mindblowing, and there is no better way of expressing that! Samantha Scott-Blackhall is amazing, and Claude Girardi (aka #77) was so good that I pained at all the things he had to go through during the play.” – Xewyne

Watched Das Experiment? Tell us what you think!

Read our review of Das Experiment!
Read our interviews with the cast of Das Experiment!

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