Twenty-six immersive performances function as a giant game intended to prompt audience members to reflect on their relationship with capitalism. Each of the spots on the “board” will explore a unique money-related scenario, inspired by actual personal experiences of the 30 cast members, which also tap into topical economic issues and debates.
“One of the spots on the board is our Centrelink scene, where you’re trying to get your Centrelink card verified by a dinosaur that keeps eating your card,” says Harley Hefford, a cast member and the play’s director. The objective of another scene is to harass and inconvenience your waiter, where the most annoying customer wins $300 of game money. The performances range from one-on-one experiences, to those for groups of about six.
There’s no paper money involved – instead a web-based app tracks gameplay, as well as a leaderboard of the richest and poorest players. The app’s origin story – a fitting one for this zeitgeist-y Monopoly update – involves online dating.
“One of the cast members met a guy on OkCupid, Adam Whiteside, that turned out to be a total tech whiz,” says Hefford. “He’d just finished a PhD in quantum physics and was about to move [to the US] to work for Google. In between those events he had a free month and was pretty bored, so decided to put our app together for us.”
The app also features a “most generous” tab, where players can see who has been the most charitable to those players less fortunate than themselves, through the fictional charities Monogive and Giveopoly.
“Within this simulated version of the world, people might feel more comfortable giving, because the stakes are lower,” Hefford explains, adding that the cast had discussed how in real life there are often conflicting feelings and imperatives around charity. That element “ended up being a bigger part of the show than we expected”, he says.
Without giving too much away, the awards ceremony at the game’s conclusion explores the differences in how personal wealth and charitable donations are acknowledged and celebrated by society.
“It’s like, getting your name on a plaque versus popping bottles,” Hefford says.
The cast hopes the show, inspired partially by the New York immersive theatre phenomenon Sleep No More, will bring this kind of performance to a new audience.
Tickets are $22, and ticket-holders are granted free entry to the “Stay Gold” after-party on Saturday July 15, because you’re gold regardless of your financial status in the game. And in real life.
Do Not Collect $200 is running July 11–14 at 24 Moons in Northcote. Sessions begin at 7.30pm. Book tickets here.