2019 Fringe Festival Review: TRUTHMACHINE

Image Courtesy of the Adelaide Fringe

What: TRUTHMACHINE

Who: Counterpilot

When: 2nd and 3rd of March, sessions run from 5:30PM to 8:00PM

Where: WP Rogers at RCC Fringe

How much: $15

TRUTHMACHINE is an interactive show at the Royal Croquet Club, dedicated to differentiating truth from lies amongst its audience. This immersive experience requires donning headphones and sitting opposite a microphone and a device that you can indicate yes or no with. Seated around tables arranged in a square, around a dozen chairs all face inward. At the top of the room sit the researchers, one is the interrogator and the other monitors the polygraph machine situated in the centre of the chairs. Then the questioning begins…

Some fairly common questions are asked to the group through cues in the headphones which requires answering a yes or no answer with their device. The participants must then answer questions with the microphone, which all can hear through their headphones. The pre-recorded audio tells the history of lies with facts about the polygraph, whilst melding the transitions with commonly-told truths and untruths and whispered tactics to encourage cheating the system.

A lucky participant is then selected from the group to be hooked up to the polygraph machine. A device is strapped around their chest to monitor breathing, a heartbeat monitor is strapped to their finger and they are seated in front of a microphone. Lighting behind the interrogated participant begins to mimic their heartbeat which the participants can also hear in their headphones.

 Without spoiling all the questions asked, the interrogation begins fairly standard and common place, “Do you worry about your personal hygiene?” and slowly begins to escalate into more intimate and intense questions. It becomes apparent throughout that the line between the truth and the non-truth are blurred and our perceptions ultimately govern the answers, regardless of whether it is the true answer. For the person being interrogated it must be an intimidating experience, but for those watching it certainly is intriguing to detect any signs of deception through body language or changes in physiology.

This multifaceted performance uses lighting, audio and visual cues to enrapture its audience throughout. This short 20-minute show is well worth trying out, I believe the show was a recipient of the Adelaide Fringe Grant for good reason. I suggest bringing a large group of friends to fill out the room, and prepare for interrogation…

4/5 stars

Milly Farmer

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