Bestland - Canada Style vs. Seattle Style May 6, 2010
When I attended Rimini Protokoll’s Best Before in Canada, I experienced both a new theater venue and a new type of performance. Never having attended a highly produced theater piece where the performers were not professional actors but "life experts" and this being my first show at The Cultch, I sat in the seats holding my video game controller with anticipation. As I was introduced to the show and its participants, I felt anxious to use the controller that sat in my lap – how to navigate my personal avatar on-screen, how to make my character someone I wanted to be. Do I choose to make decisions similar to my own life? Or do I choose to follow the different path and see what would happen if I acted out of character? Through the repeated decisions, actions and consequences, I created an avatar whom not only had a name, status, monetary worth, but both possessions and a background of my own choosing. Narrations by the various "life experts," presumable about their personal experiences, intermittently came about – intending or not to influence the decisions I had made or would be making. The experience left me pondering the feeling that although I make choices - good or bad - once I have made them it doesn’t just stop. How much thought goes into a decision is entirely up to the individual, whether the impetus is selfish or community driven. Now that Best Before is here in Seattle, I await the moment to sit in the theater with a different group of spectators. Will the virtual city be similar or different to my Canadian experience? I am curious to see the results of 200 Seattleites working together to build a city of individual avatars, on a huge video game screen at On the Boards.