Deal or no deal? The Money pits audience members against each other at Battersea Arts Centre

‘The Money’ pits every man for himself in a theatre performance that encourages audiences to participate in a power struggle at Battersea Arts Centre.

The premise behind the performance is to allow spectators and participants to observe power at play and watch as alliances are formed and how they break down.

It provides an insight into how differences can be negotiated and how groups reach decisions under stressful circumstances.

The brain child of Seth Honnor, of Kalaeider studio, the game hopes that providing people with this opportunity proves to be playful and intellectually interesting and stimulating.

He said: “Money is often corrosive when it is there and corrosive when it is not there. The presence of money creates funny tension between people often.”

The rules are pretty straightforward, you buy a ticket to the show, either as a ‘silent witness’ or a ‘benefactor’, donating a minimum of £10 if you choose to be the latter.

Benefactors then sit around a large wooden table, where the donated money sits. They have two hours to decide and agree the details, as a group, how it will be spent… unanimously.

There are no hung juries. If the group fails to reach a decision, the money rolls over to another day. Either everyone wins, or everyone loses.

Silent Witnesses are able to observe but cannot say anything, unless they decide to donate £10, become a benefactor and join the game at any stage.

One would not necessarily assume this would make for thrilling viewing. It all sounds simple enough. How hard can it really be for a group of people to decide how to spend a pot of money?

However, while many of us could easily reel off a list of suggestions, in reality it’s proving to be quite the agonising, often drawn out process as people decide whether to spend it wisely, foolishly, selfishly or altruistically.

Speaking of the show, Mr Honnor said it’s most interesting to see the differences between groups on how they spend their money.

He said: “People might get to do some really cool things with the money as a group coming together for the first time.”

The show runs at Battersea Arts Centre until May 1.

Picture courtesy of Steve Tanner / Kaleider, with thanks

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