Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Useful Experiment in Ireland

The "losers" of the social experiment at Guth Gafa. Photo credit: Mona Nicoara (c) Sat Mic Film, LLC

The delightful Guth Gafa International Documentary Festival in the village Gortahork in north-western Ireland devised an experiment meant to awaken in Our School's audience members a visceral understanding of what our protagonists' life looks like on a daily basis:

Before the second screening of Our School at Guth Gafa, festival staffer Paul Bonar and his drama students conducted a social experiment in discrimination which divided the audience members of into two groups: privileged guests and underprivileged ones. The division was random, based on color-coded tickets basically drawn from a hat. The privileged were greeted by name, shown first into the cinema, and given treats. The less fortunate had to wait outside and were called in as numbers, and sat in the back of the screening venue, with no treats. The venue was small, so everyone was able to see, but the point was made. It worked: The audience was quite engaged, and the Q&As went long and in-depth. Guth Gafa is a truly special festival that way.