Have you ever wanted to play God? The New Ten Commandments is probably the closest you’ll ever get. Entering the world of the LDD Research Group, you will soon discover that moral laws are not universal, but a human creation designed to make life as good as it can be for as many people as possible. And now it is down to us ten participants to re-think, re-brand and relaunch the Ten Commandments for the 21st century.
If you’re one of those people who think they always know best (like me) and have a thing or two to say about how the world should be run, here’s your chance.
This is the mother of all focus groups. In our postmodern liberal democracy, with its ethical ambiguities and moral uncertainties, the old commandments are starting to look a bit tired and irrelevant to the demands of contemporary living. For a start, they totally ignore the environment. The moral dilemmas presented to us covered everything from adultery to justified killing. You will discover that giving your opinion is one thing, but capturing the essence of humanity into a few sentences is quite a lot harder than it first seems.
The AV/performance/installation artist Simon Wilkinson describes his attempt as “pointing at the cracks appearing in our black and white world”. His brave mission is to take a theatre performance to multiple levels, which is why the true intentions of the mysterious LDD Research Group are not revealed. Unless you are one of the chosen few who get to proceed into the next level. As for others, you can check out the latest top ten commandments here - www.newtencommandments.info.
Simon Wilkinson and his co-producer Liyuwork Shewey have done a good job in creating this post-Orwellian experience complete with trendy anonymous imagery. Simon Wilkinson’s marketing background shows in his strong performance. As it happens, I know a thing or two about focus groups and this was very authentic. The secret is in the detail: colour-coded folders, cheap biros, post-it notes and stale snacks. Perfect! The performance also takes full advantage of the slightly claustrophobic basement setting.
The only flaw was the balance of comedy and drama elements in the show. For me, combining aliens and female genital mutilation was a bit too weird. This performance also relies fully on the people participating in it. Just one cynic could spoil the whole experience for others. I realise participating in a focus group is not everyone’s idea of a fun night out; but if you’re one of those people who think they always know best (like me) and have a thing or two to say about how the world should be run, here’s your chance.