Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What theater might learn from *Call of Duty*

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 sold 4.7 million copies and did more than $300 million in business on its opening day; people lined up at midnight.
And who says books or movies or music are the dominant art form of our time? (Theater's not even in the conversation.) Videogames, quite arguably, are.
But the question is: How could theater tap into advantages of videogaming? Yes, gaming is predominately (though not exclusively) for young men and violent.
But interactivity creates an opportunity. Sitting in a theater (despite all the talk of energy flow between actors and audience) is essentially a passive experience for spectators.

Not to harp on one of my favorite points, but site-specific theater (especially with some violent acts thrown in, and perhaps decision-junctures or scene-switches that create the illusion of spectators choosing their own focuses or paths) could lure in younger viewers accustomed to concerts and games in which they too are the performers.
What I'm saying: a local theater doing site-specific theater would create buzz and expand its customer base past just the middle-aged-to-elderly crowd (while still including them, too). Examples: a Victorian murder mystery in one of our local B and B's, either in Spokane or CdA. Or, for edgier fare, The Container, which takes place entirely, for actors and playgoers both, inside a ... you guessed it. (To which a local railyard or truck depot might provide access.)
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And visit

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For a review of Clare Bayley's play (Edinburgh Fringe, August 2007; Young Vic, July 2009; and at, go here.

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At November 19, 2009 12:36 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

I think the challenge for interactive theater is how utterly uncomfortable it is for the average theater goer. Even with video games, we want to be passive (we aren't playing on a stage before hundreds of people.)

Here's an Onion article that says all that needs to be said:


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