Saturday 15 November 2008

Stuff seen and played recently

Once And For All We're Gonna Tell You Who We Are So Shut Up And Listen
Scintillating performance from Ontoroed Goed staging a line-up of live-wire teens in what appears simply to be them at play but reveals itself gradually in repetition as not only *just that* but also an exquisite formal sculpture of youth. It is as the title says. What happens in Ghent to make this so good?

On Emotion
Another theatre essay by Mick Gordon, this time collaborating amongst others with my mate Mark from Blind Summit to examine how we are 'puppets of our emotions', I was won over by Mick's previous On Ego and On Religion, but I found this dire - a simplistic equation of dialectics, with unmoving narrative and quite rank comment on abortion.

The Tragedy Of Thomas Hobbes
My mate Adriano writes for the RSC, an epic in blank verse about the birth of experimental science and the English revolution. A curate's egg perhaps, somewhat stifled by an as yet too polite production that needs to find higher gears, but an engaging story, some fine performances and grand flashes of A's rhetoric brilliance. And you have to love any piece with two commenting characters *actually* called Waldorf and Statler. I'll be back to see this again when it's oiled and write more then.

Mesmeric dance and mask miniature by Yael Karavan at the Shunt Lounge.

Hey Mathew
Startlingly intimate performance from mates Chris and Jonny, with Jamie and Cis supporting. It's a reverie on Paul Goodman, a work-out of the thoughts surrounding An Apparently Closed Room, with the ever-watchable Jonny as if in rehearsal for all the roles an 'unruly youth' can take. I'm not sure I agree with Chris on the absence of boundary (and you have to know what I mean to understand this) but the work had heart-felt integrity on its own terms and was fun to spend time with. For the blog... Chris was inspired by Dennis Cooper's personal arts centre of a blog with an extraordinary comments section as social space but inevitably the HM blog was itself more like a rehearsal room, and therefore much harder to comment in.

Last Will
Prototype game/theatre by Alex Fleetwood and Felix Barrett. Two players enter the same room - one a real-world installation, one online - to solve the last will of an eccentric recluse in Crystal Maze puzzle form. I was a real-world player with no online equivalent, but I gather real-world can hear the online, online can see the real-world. I solved it and had much fun doing so. It's impressively executed, with a sumptuous final image that's stayed with me. But I wonder if it's still fun if you get stumped? The narrative is paper-thin - penitence in motion - and there's no sense of why this old man needs you to hear his story, or even what actually happened. Less why this story demands this form and what the relationship between real and online players means to become more than a gimmick. But... early days here and if they get it right, it'll be fantastic...

Invent the future and help save humanity by dreaming stories from 2019. I really want to like this - a truly serious game with serious aims - but I'm sceptical. I think the What-If-Can-Do format - building on that of the successful World Without Oil - is very difficult to keep playable beyond the first response for all but the most committed. The forest of possibilities that other players open up in their responses is incredibly exciting but rapidly becomes bewildering. I'm also not keen on the terminology - SEHI, Emergensight... all a bit Ayn Rand - and it feels over-gamed for the casual player, but well aware that this is my taste.

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