Three's Company Blog

Interactivity and ‘Auditorium’

This is the first in [intlink id=”41″ type=”category”]a series of blog posts[/intlink] about interactive theatre and the theory behind Auditorium and our work in this field.

What do we mean when we claim to be the first fully interactive farce? Well of course it all comes down to your definition of interactivity – and whether you can quantify the level of interaction in a piece. We’re trying to avoid what I call the four pitfalls of interactivity, based on the work I’ve seen and studied over the last few years.

For us, the challenge we set ourselves was to create a consistent narrative with a decent story arc and compelling development whilst still allowing the audience to truly affect the show. Moreover, we wanted to do this without ever stepping out of character or breaking the illusion, and without limiting the audience to the constraints of finite ‘multiple choice’ theatre.

There’s a lot of theatre out there where you can interact with the characters – ‘immersive’ or ‘site specific’ theatre, and works by the likes of dreamthinkspeak or Punchdrunk. In these works your individual ‘narrative’ (eg experience) might be interactive, but the story of the piece is largely untouched by your actions. There’s also increasing amounts of theatre where you can interact with the narrative – works inspired by the ‘choose your own adventure’ series, works where you can vote for an ending, even arguably impro shows. But in these cases you only deal with out of character performers, narrators, or technology, and not the characters themselves.

Perhaps what makes Auditorium different is that we’re trying to make a piece where you can interact with both the characters and the story – so you can play the story rather than just watch the play.

If you’ve any thoughts on these ideas, or seen the play and wish to comment on whether we’ve achieved this, please tell us your thoughts in the comments below. We’ll be writing soon about our ‘Four Pitfalls’ of interactivity, and about some of the ways that audiences have reacted to this convention.

This is the first in [intlink id=”41″ type=”category”]a series of blog posts[/intlink] about interactive theatre and the theory behind Auditorium and our work in this field.

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