Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The Unbuilt Room

Last night Rich and I did something very cultured, we went to a performance-game called The Unbuilt Room at Brasenose College in Oxford.

I spotted it in the Thirsty Meeple newsletter a couple of weeks ago and the description of it piqued my interest, and as tickets are only £10 each I thought why not, and booked Rich and I in for last night.
"Come in. Sit down. Explore… Discover an imagined version of Oxford in this unique Playhouse Plays Out performance-game. The Unbuilt Room combines the simplicity of bare-bones storytelling with the limitless possibilities of contemporary open-world computer games.
A performer stands on a bare stage and describes another, imaginary place. By giving instructions like “go north” or “pick up the lamp”, the audience works together to navigate the described space, overcoming obstacles and exploring this other world without leaving their seats."

When we arrived we headed through Brasenose College grounds to the stairs to the Crypt, which we descended into a gorgeous bright space with seating set out in a semi circle. The performer gave us a brief intoduction as to what would be expected of us and we began. He described a space very similar to that we were in, and gave us various options of what to do next.

Every time we went back on ourselves he would use the same description of the place, which was very reminscent of old text based adventure games, and he took it in turns to ask us as an audience where we wanted to go. We solved the puzzle provided by his descriptions then had a chance to create our own spaces, which was fantastically wierd and wonderful, reminding me of those games where you write a sentence then someone else does, until you have a strange story.

It was a very pleasant way to spend an evening, and certainly something unusal. It's on tonight and tomorrow, so if you are local to Oxford I'd recommend you book tickets whilst you can!

Rachel x

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