Monday, February 8, 2010

Best Before: the end of the night

Best Before, more play than a play, proved to be a great night out (I should also mention that I am in love with The Cultch).

I read a few reviews before going, so I knew the basic premise of the piece: everyone in the audience gets a controller, and "lives" through an avatar (my mom's response when I tried to tell her about it: "Oh is it based on the movie?!"...), and is given various life changing options. With the touch of a button, the players select the desired sex, occupation, political views, family and other such choices. Paralleling the video gaming world, Best Before seemed to place an emphasis on our own reality, and the connected reality of our avatars. Obviously understanding that Bestland was make-believe, I was still very cautious, especially at the beginning, in making smart choices. For example, I stayed away from heroin and teenage sex, but as the game went on, I let loose and ended up owning firearms and committing suicide at age 78. Whereas the original concern surrounded jobs, a weight on money and the legalization of marijuana, my focus shifted to being the center of attention in the zoom shots and avoiding prison (aka sticking around for longer). At one point, I ended up bickering with my boyfriend because he was real-life mad that I cheated in the race and caused us to get disqualified, so he went and married someone else!

Without any real actors on screen, on stage, or in the audience, it was a collaborative effort to function as a society in Bestland, and the gameshow-esque presentation was entertaining and enjoyable. However, even though I was more attached to my avatar than to the players in other video games, there was nothing other than a good time that I took away from the night.

1 comment:

  1. I found Best Before an interesting concept/experiment in social democracy. But the theatre-goer in me wanted a bit faster pacing and I found it frustrating that I kept losing my avatar, and had keep dropping from the sky to find myself again. Our opening night audience did manage to elect as our leader a transgendered, heroin-taking, single-parent flagger, though!