Ontroerend Goed returns with another bold political production
This article is from 2013.
Fight Night follows Belgian company Ontroerend Goed’s previous look at the complicity of the bystander, Audience, by again making the spectator get involved. The set-up is simple: there are a series of voting rounds with each stage allowing the candidates to explain a little about themselves. Although it is possible that the entire process has been rigged, the appearance of a free vote is maintained throughout.
By focusing on the mechanics of the voting process, and stripping away any political platforms, Goed exposes the limitations of elections. Here it is shown that the democratic process is inevitably doomed to destroy choice. The final result of their electoral process is disturbing: one candidate is rejected by the audience because he is clearly most like them, reflecting their uncertainty and self-loathing. Another candidate tries to buck the system, and effectively removes the participation of those questioning the process.
Fight Night is bold, and obnoxious. It mocks liberal assumptions about goodwill and democracy. The final revelation – a silent screen projecting the identity of the most powerful being in the room – is nihilistic while the disruption of true democracy is littered with uneasy alliances and ironic results.
The final revelation becomes the naming of the beast, the individual who holds the power in democracy and effectively destroys it through their ubiquity. True to form, Ontroerend Goed offer no escape.
Traverse, until 25 Aug (not 5, 12, 19), times vary, £17–£19 (£12–£14).