CTRL+Z THEATER GROUP / NIMA DEHGHANI
The site-specific performance of “The Manual” (literal translation from Persian, “The Correct Way to Use the Machine”) is an experience of the use of social measures; violence, security and the sense of control which exists in society is evoked by performative elements which activate anxiety. In fact, the performance is an investigation of the audience’s scale of decision and power to act in spite of the severity of force and authority which dominates the environment.
After a security check, each audience receives a number and enters the space. Hereafter, each person is known by his number. During the performance, they are constantly controlled by security. The guidebook, including information about “The Manual” and Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” is given to the audience. While waiting for his turn, the audience member has time to get acquainted with the “machine.”
The audience members use the machine in groups of two or three. They receive parts: “director,” “actor,” “spectator,” according to their numbers. A director can choose his ideal scene or situation. A spectator can control and change the light inside the machine. An actor can get in touch with the actor inside the machine and control the music. After entering the machine’s environment, the audience members are given three wireless headphones and they have five minutes to use whatever they remember from the guidebook and watch their own kind of “Hamlet.”
The actor inside the machine can perform six different scenes of “Hamlet” (with similar soliloquy and different senses) in English and Persian according to the audience’s choice (which is given the title of director). The space is under the control of fifteen cameras, and security confronts any suspicious or disturbing behavior.