GOING to see World Factory at the Young Vic is not like going to see a traditional piece of theatre. In fact it’s more like a game – a cross between a visit to the casino and playing monopoly.
It’s interactive too with the audience sitting at tables, each one representing a Chinese clothing factory.
To begin with we are given a short but powerful glimpse into the origins of the fast fashion industry starting with the Manchester cotton mills and including footage and interviews with those in real Chinese factories before we get hurled headlong into the game.
Each table is given a box in which there are among other things fake money and a file of 24 “employees”.
The cast, who act like croupiers at a casino, deal each table a card which sets out a scenario and invites us to choose one of two options.
Whichever one we choose – and it has to be a team decision – will inform which card and therefore which dilemma, we get next and so on.
It could be what to do about an underage employee or how much of a bonus to give the workers when they go off on their two-week spring break.
In between times the cast, our dealers, may come over and tell us and impart information or try to bribe us.
It’s fun, utterly fascinating and absorbing, very, very fast and sociable with decisions about imaginary workers being taken that will have implications for them, their co-workers and the fortunes of the factory itself.
At the end we get to see how our decisions have affected the factory and which team has been the most ruthless and therefore made the most money at the expense of their workers.
And while it’s not out to lecture people and say what we should and shouldn’t do, we do get a chance to see and hear at first hand the cost of fast fashion both to its consumers and more crucially the planet.
World Factory is on at the Young Vic, The Cut, until Saturday, June 6. Tickets from £10. Visit www.youngvic.org or call the box office on 020 7922 2922.