by Ella Mahler

So remember when Michelle Ellsworth essentially built her own Internet in her last OtB performance, Phone Homer? Well now, she has created an Arcade. And yes, you can play in it.

Michelle has transformed the studio theatre into a participant-friendly arena of buttons to press, levers to pull, bikes to ride, and 2 phones with live operators ready to talk to you (who may or may not be in same time zone – you should ask them who they are). Grab a quarter, drop it in the slot, and see what happens.

Meanwhile there is a live performer in a large wooden box who continues to follow instructions from a hidden voice (Michelle) to complete tasks that become more and more absurd, challenging, and futile at times. Not only is he performing live, but also with the help of technology, we see him superimposed in ever-changing environments and scenarios (even Nintendo’s Mario at one point). And you, the player/observer, have some control in this too. Go press the 2 red buttons behind the box.

In Clytigation #3, Michelle has carefully assembled a system of live human experience and the routes to intake that experience. She toys with how we watch, contribute, learn, play, manipulate, and consume. Consume is a key word here.

Oh, let’s not forget another important piece—there are pancakes served through the whole show.