|Oblivious – Hollywood Fringe Review
|A review by Rachel Flanagan.
Oblivious takes the concept of video games and mixes it with interactive theater to create a fun experience with audience participation. The concept behind Oblivious is set in a fictional United Nation-States of Surveillance where citizens are under constant surveillance. As three participants, chosen from the audience to become new citizens of the fictional nation, take their places on stage, a voice emerges begging the participants to become revolutionaries and fight the robotic dictator. The participants must solve the puzzles and fight their way to victory. If any of the participants lose their part of the game, they are deactivated and new members of the audience take their place and continue the fight for freedom. When you arrive, you will fill out a form, which includes choosing whether you want to participate in the experience. The first three players are chosen at the very beginning and the game/show begins. The audience watches as the participants solve the puzzles and battle the robotic dictator and there is one point where the audience gets to play a part in the adventure so each performance is a unique experience.
While the story and concept are quite creative and presents a very interactive live theater experience, the audience experience may be positive or negative depending on the audience participants. I wanted to experience the performance as an audience member but ended up getting the unique perspective of being both audience and participant due to the three original participants being deactivated when they did not solve one of the puzzles in time. On my initial paperwork, I had chosen not to participate but when the participants were all knocked out of the game, the assistant just chose three random audience members and I guess I looked like I wanted to play. The original audience participants during my show seemed very lost and confused and as they were all complete strangers, there was very little interaction between them. When I was chosen with two others to complete the game, it seemed as though we were thrown in to complete the puzzle and while we did not seem to get it right, the game continued on. The game ending seemed fairly anti-climatic as the game ended, we won, and everyone filed out. With a little more planning and perhaps a little more audience preparation for those participating and interaction for those not participating, this unique theater experience could be the start of a new video game theater phenomenon. Run time was only 20 minutes and if you have the free space in your day, check out Oblivious for a fun time.