Journal

This is your choice May 8, 2010

by Jason Rowley

Rimini Protokoll: Best Before, A fun and thought provoking blend of technology, theater, comedy and the personal and social choices that we all make on a daily basis. The Performance starts out with an introduction on how to control an avatar, basically an egg on a screen behind the actors that each member of the audience has and controls with a video game controller. The controls and functions are easy enough, this isn't like playing an Xbox and thus don't need to be too tech savvy to figure it out. Keep a whether eye open however, with 200 other eggs running about you can easily lose track of your own egg in this world called Bestland. The four actors, all of different backgrounds from a video game programmer to a construction flagger, lead you and your avatar through the performance sharing their own personal stories as they relate to questions and situations for you and your avatar. These questions range from what sex you are upon the birth of your avatar to questions that depend on your avatars age. At 15 you choose whether to be sexually active or not? Are you going to drink? As the age of your avatar increases so to does your avatar grow both in size and in Bestland credits based on your choices. Buy a house? What career are you going to choose? What makes this truly interesting is this is a game of chance. As you grow and choose there are consequences, you might die, become pregnant, lose your job due to Bestlands economy, go to jail, lose your inheritance, be killed by your fellow audience members, or commit suicide to name a few. Ultimately, this is about stepping outside of your life and for two hours living and reflecting alternative choices that we might not choose in reality. For two hours I became a divorced heroin using gun toting mother, who drank and had sex at 15 while supporting an army abroad, though not everyone might choose that life for their avatar. But that is the point! This is your choice, no one to say you were wrong, no one to lecture you, and thankfully no consequences outside the game. Rimini Protokoll: Best Before is different, exciting, funny, and unlike games like Sims city, you are being presented actual situations that we all have experienced in some from in our lives. Widen your gaze, try something new, and have fun!

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