MILLION DOLLAR BABY
Part immersive installation, part music video, 'Million Dollar Baby' marked the first in a planned series of works exploring the world of single-participant theatre. Centred around a custom built performance space, the project involved the complete transformation of an inner-city garage into a magical casino-bar, in which a single audience member would be invited to join a pre-constructed narrative.
Commissioned by Shadowplay Theatre, the participant is immersed in an obtuse and macabre game of cards, with gothic symbolism and paraphernalia pointing to some unspoken internal logic. A waitress loiters in the background serving the participant and their host a strange intoxicating liquid, which soon results in the host responding with increasingly bizarre and aggressive behaviour.
Concieved as a form of what Augustus Boal called the 'theatre of the oppressed', the performance provides an open-ended scene in which it is the response of the participant - replete with the knowledge as to the highly stylised nature of the event - that shapes the work's conclusion. Choosing either to play along or circumvent the existing narrative structure, the single participant can explore their unique response to highly-charged emotional stimuli free of the typical social pressures that exist in less intimate public works.