In a small town in Syria, soldiers are celebrated as heroes and grieving families are nourished on propaganda. As the coffins pile up, the local party leader decides on a radical compensation scheme: a goat for each son martyred.
Goats is a major new work by Syrian playwright and documentary filmmaker Liwaa Yazji exploring the lies we choose to believe as a society, and the rippling effect when one man questions the ‘truth’, opening at the Royal Court Theatre.
Working within the framework of the ‘fake news’ setting, but also trying to keep within the bounds of the deconstructed playing space, we designed a system of ironically over-the-top news graphics and filled the court with hidden live camera. We took live feeds in from iPhones, an X-Box playing counterstrike, conventional news cameras and developed wireless spy cams that we could attach to the collars of the real on-stage goats. We also worked in rehearsals with the director and cast to set up the correct shots and angles and justify the actions of the newsreader and ‘film crew’.
Given the scope fo the project and the need for custom solutions, Mesmer also supplied and built all equipment, from the media servers to the custom camera rigs needed.
Fake news permeates the whole production like hyperchromatic cloud infecting everyone who breathes it
Camera trickery, live feeds and rolling news convey a screen-addled culture of media distortion.