Would Like to Meet

non zero one
Barbican
(2010)

Production photo

Of late, psychological role-plays dressed up as theatrical performance have become popular. In that these events usually try to tap into the needs and desires of their subjects, reactions to them will inevitably be highly subjective.

At their best, the experience will be better than a night out with good friends and can even feel like a very successful hot date. As a corollary, when they do not work, one will inevitably wonder what the purpose was.

non zero one's Would Like To Meet gives each of the six combatants a different experience and therefore, on comparing notes at the end, each can boast or bemoan something unique.

The general premise is that after being left to sit still for five minutes, you are asked to don headphones and follow instructions for what is apparently 45 minutes but can feel either considerably more or less.

In that time, instructed by a disembodied, sexy female voice, you wander around the Barbican, occasionally bumping into other headphone-wearers.

In addition to learning a little more about the space and its environs, some gentle elements of drama are introduced.

With the red square headphones, you interact with a fellow passenger on this journey into the mind in adjoining phone booths, meet a surly and inefficient waiter and follow (at a distance) a redhead. Whether these intrigues are geared to the age and gender of the visitor must remain a mystery.

In any event, the promenade was like killing 45 minutes at the Barbican, perhaps having arrived too early for a show or a meeting.

The people behind the experience, non zero one, are students or graduates of Royal Holloway College and it may well be that their presentation has greater appeal to others of their ilk, for whom the narrative might have been written. Certainly, the other participants at this session appeared to get a much better deal with more bells and whistles and as a result, had much more fun.

Reviewer: Philip Fisher