19 March 2014

Decisions, decisions

Sylvia Rimat is the brain behind If You Decide To Stay - quite literally. The hour-long one-woman show explores decision-making - why Rimat decided to become a performance artist; why the 65 people watching decided to come along to Contact to be in the audience, why they didn't leave halfway through. Mapping thought processes like constellations of stars, she counts our votes regarding the answers to certain questions via the clicking on or off of torches, so we are made to participate in the way the show goes, a bit like a Choose Your Own Adventure story. 

We are drawn into Rimat's imagination - her imaginary world - where grown women in rabbit outfits hop around the "meadows, thickets and fields" of the meandering script. One of us becomes a Roman soldier, complete with red and gold cape and galea; another is asked to read aloud an astrologer's report in a lilting, airy-fairy way; another still is given a £20 note and sent to the newsagent round the corner for snacks to help celebrate the fact that we all decided to stay. At least, I think we all did, although I did have my doubts when we were told to swap seats at the start (I didn't move places, in case you're wondering). 

We hear recorded interviews with various experts who attempted to explain to the German-born, Bristol-based performer what is going on in her brain: two neuroscientists and a mathematician and computer scientist, plus the correspondence she received from a psychotherapist and the aforementioned astrologist. It's a very personal journey we're invited to join Rimat on, and she reveals many vulnerabilities along the way, particularly when she sits, one by one, behind four lightbulbs she fits with paper lampshades as we listen to the scientists essentially talk about the state of her mind. Rimat sheds light on many interesting thoughts and thought processes, not least why she, and we, make certain choices over others. A thoughtful and thought-provoking piece, you might say. 

If You Decide To Stay is on at Norwich Arts Centre on 13 May.

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