Mandy Kloppers

Building an IKEA wardrobe against backdrop of war

IKEA cupboard

Building an IKEA wardrobe against the backdrop of war – DNA Studio premieres new immersive show RTFM (Read The F***ing Manual) at Ed Fringe


At this time when war is so prevalent in the world, this is a piece of theatre that will speak to us all.  With the chaos and conflict of a war all around them, a couple embark on a seemingly ordinary task: assembling an IKEA wardrobe. RTFM reminds us that through the journey of assembling – furniture, life, and relationship – even in the toughest of times, we can find the strength and resilience to persevere, build from new and discover hope. This is a brand-new immersive show from DNA Studio where the audience actively participates in the role of a supportive community and becomes crucial to the couple’s journey.  The performance includes physical theatre enhanced by new spatial sound technology.


RTFM refers to the ‘IKEA effect’**, developed by psychologists to describe how people tend to like things more if they’ve expended effort to create them. The ‘IKEA effect’ mirrors the way the couple gradually realize the value of their relationship, as they invest time, effort, and emotion into building together.


The couple’s journey will be affected by the IKEA Effect and the war raging around them, but it will also be shared by the audience who play an active part in the play. They will respond to prompts from actors, express empathy during difficult moments, offer solutions and encouragement, share their own experiences, take sides, and sometimes physically assist in the wardrobe construction. Surrounded by eight speakers, the immersive music represents the emotional journey of the couple and the sound effects represents the world outside. The audience will be given musical cues as to how and when to contribute to the couple’s activities. As they support the couple and take an active role in helping them assemble the wardrobe and rebuild their relationship, audience members will become emotionally invested in the couple’s journey, deepening the impact of the story, and reinforcing themes of hope and perseverance.


RTFM is brought to the Edinburgh Fringe by DNA Studio, a collaboration between Dor Frenkel, a physical theatre director and performer, and Amit Segall, a new media artist and musician.

Says Dor Frenkel, ‘RTFM is based on personal experience.  Faced with the juxtaposition of carrying on our lives despite fear and sorrow, Amit and I were determined to create a hopeful piece, leading us to focus on the theme of building from loss.  We liked the idea of reflecting the theory of the IKEA Effect and using the war as a backdrop to the play and as a metaphor.’


Tickets are available from early May



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