Comments on <i>Best Before</i> May 7, 2010

by Jessica

When the show first started, I was psyched.   Live people!   A stage!   I liked the premise & everything started well.   I was disappointed that one particular friend of mine had been unable to attend, because he develops games for phones & absolutely lives for these types of concepts. The first half hour was great, and the audience was enjoying the show as much as I was.   It was novel, easy to participate, and showed promise.   The following hour seemed to be the same as the first half hour, but with the novelty worn away.   There were a few interesting moments; for example, at one point the audience was made to realize that armies are inevitably necessary, and that risk is inherent in both life and games. At the end of two hours, the performance had pretty much ground me to a halt.   There was little new happening in the performance, and felt no "challenge", as one might expect in quality art.   My overall experience was that I was being asked to make many of the same choices that I have to make in everyday life.   And a component of the later portion of the game was to show that there were consequences to my earlier decisions.   There was definitely a subtext that "life is hard" or even "life sucks".   This was definitely underscored by the narratives offered by the actors. My own personal perception--my own interpretation--was that the performance merely mirrored some of life's challenges that I face on a daily basis, and forced me to trudge through these tedious burdens yet again: voting, politics, aging, divorce, kids, money...   Perhaps to a younger person, this might seem fun or even enlightening. So, therein lies something fundamental to all art: perception.   Aware of this, I moved on... Now two hours into the performance, the audience was given the option of allowing their characters to commit suicide.   I went for it.   I moved my character to the middle of the screen & waited for "the black hole". It was not to be.   The program failed to work & the game could not advance.   The cast attempted to fix the program, even attempting to debug code in front of the audience. To add to my frustration...I'm a software developer...I didn't want to debug code on my evening out.   However, I'm still aware of perception, and my unique situation. Sensing the audiences waning patience, the cast wrapped up the show as best they could with thinly veiled disappointment. I want nothing other than to send you a glowing review of the show.   I greatly appreciate the tickets & the opportunity.   However, I can't give a gleaming blog post.   If you want to use any of my comments, feel free. I think, in the end, the only real crime committed was a lack of crescendo.   All art ultimately depends upon people, not technology. Fear not!   I understand that every live experience is a gamble, and one man's ceiling is another man's floor.   I think this challenges me to seek out more theater...however next time, maybe with a bit more research.   Nothing ventured, nothing gained. -Mike Barber