Tag Archive | "non zero one"

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Review: Hold Hands/Lock Horns

Posted on 30 September 2013 by Ruby-isla Cera-Marle

In a basement in Shoreditch, a voice booms through my headphones instructing me to enter an unknown room. I am about to partake in Non Zero One’s interactive piece: Hold Hands/Lock Horns (Future Edition). Knowing little about the installation, other than the fact it is a one-on-one experience, I’m fairly intrigued to discover exactly what it will entail. I enter a dark room with a large forked grid taped on the floor. The interviewer explains I will be asked to choose between a series of options that will ultimately lead me to a number between 1-64. As I’m asked to decide between ‘power of flight’ or ‘invisibility cloak’ – the whole experience begins to feel a lot like a giant game of ‘Would you rather?’

The questions don’t appear to be linked in any way; I found that some of my responses were more instinctive whereas others I spent longer mulling over. My last choice between ‘truth’ or ‘lie’ causes me to land on number 27. I am then lead into a separate room and asked to explain the rationale (if any) behind my choices. As I leave I’m informed that the probability of the next person choosing exactly the same sequence and also ending up on 27 is highly unlikely – statistically speaking, roughly 1 in 4,000.

In a couple of weeks, I will receive an email from the team behind Non Zero One which will contain a link allowing me to see videos of the other participants who also inadvertently ended up on the same number. I think it will be quite interesting to hear the way in each my fellow 27-ers interpreted the questions and the thought process behind their responses.The act of watching the others being interviewed transforms my personal experience into a shared and collective experience.

Hold Hands/Lock Horns (Future Edition) was being performed as part of this years FutureFest – a two-day festival which imagined what our future might be like. Given the wider context of the event, I do think that questions asked during the piece could have been more daring and perhaps had a futuristic feel about them. That said, I think their overall concept of forcing members of the public to make on-the-spot decisions is simple but ultimately could prove to be quite revealing. Non Zero One is a young company whose experimental performance art shows much promise.

Hold Hands/Lock Horns (Future Edition) was performed at Shoreditch Town Hall on 28-29 September as part of FutureFest. For details of more information about Non Zero One and the possibility of future performances please visit the Non Zero One website.

Ruby-isla Cera-Marle

Ruby-isla Cera-Marle

Ruby isla Cera Marle recently graduated from Royal Holloway University of London where she studied Spanish and European Literature and Cultural Studies. Currently Ruby is working as Press and Marketing Assistant at Rambert Dance Company..

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Review: The Time Out

Posted on 25 October 2012 by Camilla Gurtler

I so didn’t expect to be wearing goggles in a locker room playing thumb war with a guy on a Monday night, but that was exactly my experience of Non Zero One’s The Time Out.

Today people seem too busy to even breathe, let alone to make new acquaintances. We are stressed, we are lonely, and the only way we seem to be able to connect to another human being is to find them on the internet. It’s no coincidence that so many people seek help and read books about becoming more sociable, about how to engage with others and how to work together as a team at the office. The thought of standing up in front of strangers to share some of your intimate secrets seems daunting to most.

Unfortunately we are too rarely forced to come out of our shells, take a leap, and just connect with the people around us and forget our egos and fears. I did not think a wet Monday evening would let me experience that. But boy was I wrong.

When I first arrived at the Barbican I thought I’d be able to disappear in the crowd, safe and secure in my seat, observing the actors and passing judgement. But when we were shown into the theatre I was greeted by three benches. All with swimming hats on them, and two men waiting by the lockers only a few meters from me. One in swimwear. Panic.

Sitting in a group shoulder-to-shoulder in a locker room it is not very clear what is going on. A coach is telling you that in about ten minutes you and your fellow theatre-goers will be facing the final water polo match. In the intimate light and with Coach Ken talking directly to you and your teammates you feel like the rug has been pulled from under your feet and you’ve been kicked in the stomach with a boot. Interactive theatre is quite entertaining when you see the actor having a go at someone else but when it’s your turn it feels like you’ve been injected with adrenaline and your life is in serious danger. Will they force you into a pool? Do you have to perform in front of the others?

The fear is suddenly a reality – you are in a room with total strangers and when a voice speaks to all of you through speakers in the hats and sets out tasks to throw you together as a team your boundaries are bent and tested, as you have to answer questions, reveal secrets and have physical contact. People say one of the most daunting things is having to look strangers in the eye and hold their gaze – and of course this is tested in this different and exciting performance at the Barbican, in a small room at the bottom of the centre.

Non Zero One is a company of artists which explores ideas of audience responsibility and the relationships between their participants, using technology and live and pre-recorded material to allow intimate connections between the participants to happen, and they manage to do so with such a thrill that you feel safe in their hands at the same time as being fearful of what they might put you through next.

The use of technology is brilliant and creates a bubble around the participants so that they feel safe with each other and in the hands of the actors. It is strange how quickly you can open up to people you don’t know through the guidance of others. As soon as the door has been opened you feel yourself letting go and that is the reason for interactive theatre and why it work’s so brilliantly in The Time Out. It’s subtle, real and is a gentle nudge in the right direction – towards letting others in and letting go.

I rarely get so excited about a performance that I buzz all the way home, but Non Zero One’s brilliant execution of The Time Out and the way the actors listen and respond to their participants has left me hanging, wanting more. On the tube home I felt lost – where were all my new teammates? The intimacy?

I found myself desperate to bond with another stranger – and that’s something I haven’t felt for a long time.

The Time Out is playing at the Barbican Centre until 4 November. For more information and tickets, see

Camilla Gurtler

Camilla Gurtler

Camilla is currently training as a director on the Young Directors’ Programme with StoneCrabs Theatre Company. Camilla has worked as a director, actress and writer in Denmark and London, and loves Shakespeare, greek tragedies and children’s theatre. She’s obsessed with coffee, dislikes ranting on stage and hates the colour yellow. Especially mustard-yellow.

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Review: you’ll see [me sailing in antarctica]

Posted on 11 July 2012 by Jake Orr

If there is one thing I have learnt recently, it is how much of the National Theatre is hidden from sight amongst the cocooning layers of concrete. Where Made In China’s Get Stuff Break Free took audiences between two lift shafts overlooking the Southbank, non zero one presents its piece you’ll see [me sailing in antarctica] on the edge of the NT roof overlooking Waterloo and the city behind. Working in similar style to its other pieces, audience members wear headphones with microphones to interact with the performance and performers. After being led out onto the roof we sit around a large circular table facing inwards. Here we learn that every headset is live, and that speaking, coughing or sneezing will be heard in our ears as if the person is sitting next to us. We are encouraged to meet and greet each other, to get used to hearing our voices relayed through headphones. What this creates is a heightened state of performance; we are involved in the performance through our very breathing which, if listening careful, can be heard gently in our ears.

Over the course of the hour, non zero one prepares its audience for the present. It tests our memories, our reflexes, and our ability to focus on a given point and to clear our minds altogether. It attempts to create clarity and for us to be truly present in the moment. What we learn through you’ll see [me sailing in antarctica] is just how difficult it is for us to be present. If, as the company declares, we live our life in three second intervals that are cataloged and stored in our memory, then our life is significantly fractured and disparate. With every memory that we try and recall we are only remembering 60% of that given memory; the other 40% dissolves, or is fabricated from other instances that influence us. Do we celebrate the slow slipping away of memories, or do we mourn them, realising that our lives are quickly disappeaing into a blackness? Of this I am unsure, but as a performance piece it is wonderfully honest, tender and heartening whilst being, for me at least, somewhat tragic and bleak.

As the company prepares us for seeing the city around us, there is a distinct feeling of being wooed, of a warming in our hearts that is gentle and subtle. Non zero one is acting as our guide into the unknown, and yet it all feels familiar too. I’m not talking about the work itself, which feels distinct and unique, but there’s a sense of warming awakening, a soothing sense the company invokes that, right here and right now, this is the present and that no matter how hard we try, what just happened will always be slipping away as a memory. Equally, the view from the roof of the National Theatre is all too familiar, and as we are encouraged to look out as the platform we are seated around begins to rotate, the city of London with all its quirks and buildings becomes alive. There is a richness, an understanding that what we see now will not be the same tomorrow or next week. We’re witnessing a small micro-world that, in an instant, shifts and changes. What is familiar now will become distant tomorrow.

It’s hard to really discuss you’ll see [me sailing in antarctica] without wanting to urge you to attend. It’s defining personal theatre that brings together a group of 24 audience members for a heartening and awakening theatrical experience that will never quite be the same on any other night. Within its uniqueness and its dreamlike quality, you’ll feel enveloped into non zero one’s imaginative world. You’ll want to call an old friend, or tell someone you love them, just to pass on the goodness you’ve felt. Or perhaps, like me, you’ll understand that with our lives comes a real sadness and small moments of tragedy that can’t be avoided. you’ll see [me sailing in antarctica] shows you have to see and to experience what is in front of you, whilst dreaming of the future. Blissfully tender and intimate theatre.

you’ll see [me sailing in antarctica] is playing on the roof of the National Theatre until 20 July. For more information and tickets, see the National Theatre website.

Jake Orr

Jake Orr

Jake is the Artistic Director and Founder of A Younger Theatre. He is a freelance writer and blogger, a theatre marketer and a digital producer. He is also Co-Curator of Dialogue.

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