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Theatre as a street game

Imagine playing theatre as if it was a game – with the streets of Trondheim as the stage and the arena. You are the actor; the city is the audience. What will you do?

The strange theatre games Chain Reaction and Random Friends challenge traditional notions of theatre, spectatorship and participation, and mark a playful ending to the spring season at Teaterhuset AvantGarden . These are literally games which the audience is invited to participate in – but they are also theatre performances, in which every participant is simultaneously an actor -a little like flash mobs. Whether you’re an alien from outer space collecting souvenirs from earth, or you’re a secret EU agent trying to create EUphoria by planting strange chemicals in our milk: The stage is all yours.

Random Friends is played in collaboration with the artist collective Yevdva located in Belgrade, Serbia. Players in Trondheim and Belgrade will collaborate to solve puzzles and challenges simultaneously in the two different cities, connected via mobile phones. What do the cities of Trondheim and Belgrade have in common? And what is worse, EUphoria or EUphobia? Play the game to find out.

Serb. I. Am game in National Theatre, London 2010, by Yevdva

Inspired by international game/theatre festivals such as Hide & Seek Weekender (London National Theatre 2007-) Come Out & Play (New York 2008-) and You Are GO! (Berlin 2011-) , Chain Reaction and Random Friends bring pervasive games to a Norwegian theatre for the first time. Pervasive games are “big games”, designed by adults, for adults. They are games that spill off the computer screen or the dinning room table into the real-world with the help of smart phones and all kinds of gadgetry. Using the city as playground, the games mix exuberant narratives, funny props and a bit of role playing with open source phone applications that make players rediscover the city through play.

Chain Reaction players pose after completing a playtest at Solsiden, Trondheim.

Chain Reaction and Random Friends bring to Trondheim a taste of what these games can be. Developed within the department of Art and Media Studies at NTNU, the lead designer, PhD candidate Elena Pérez.is interested in game´s potential to make people display transgressive behavior and do things that we normally don´t get to do in our everyday lives.

Chain Reaction is a mix of street game and performance that takes people´s most creative sides out to the surface. It was first staged in Berkeley, California in 2009.

Random Friends has been developed in collaboration with Yevdva collective in Serbia, game designers in residency with Blast Theory and Hide & Seek 2010.

Chain Reaction and Random Friends come in the theater house Avantgarden in Trondheim on Friday 27th-Saturday 28th.