The proposition: star in your own scripted drama

You walk into a café. You take a seat with a friend, or a stranger, and you put on the headphones. A voice instructs you through a series of short scenes where you inhabit certain roles — even some you may recognise from film and theatre. You are also provided with a small amount of props i.e. a tiny plastic house and some chalk.

The other person may have betrayed you, upset you — aroused you. You may get right into it and start crying. They may start to laugh. You may be surprised by your own story, unfolding through the prompts. Either way, no one’s experience of Rotozaza’s Etiquette will be the same. On some level, it may even get you thinking about the power of dialogue — where the words come from in everyday communication. Who is whispering instructions in your ear?

Etiquette is written by Ant Hampton and Silvia Mercuriali. It opened in London in 2007 and has toured internationally (in 12 languages). It’s being put on in Australia as part of the Perth Festival. I plan to don the headphones at the end of the month when I’m over there for Perth Writers Festival. It’s a bit like ChatRoulette but live — and the dialogue and sets are provided.

The details: Etiquette is on at two venues in Perth:  Barre Cafe Restaurant, His Majesty’s Theatre (until Friday  February 26) and Caffissimo, Art Gallery of Western Australia (until Sunday  February 28). Limited places available. Booking details here.

Watch YouTube footage of the New York version.

Peter Fray

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