Oblivious is a Videogame Theatre Experience: Videogame mechanics are translated into a live theatre environment so the audience can play to claim an active role in storytelling. Audience members are given tasks to accomplish in the fully interactive space, and the consequences of those actions shape the course of the story.
In the fictional United Nation-States of Surveillance [UNSS], civil liberties have succumbed to a micro-managing government that uses mass surveillance to enforce hyper-consumerism. We’re eerily told that we are safe, simply because we are watched.
3 audience members are chosen to be new citizens of the country, and may be switched out for other players during the game. Before you can be fully inducted, a mysterious voice pleads with you to become revolutionaries that bring down the fascistic government by dethroning its robot dictator. Will you emerge victorious, or will this be game over for freedom?
The story of Oblivious is a satire of a totalitarian society that resembles a dystopian America if our country were run on mass surveillance. It was conceived when I was inspired by Edward Snowden's bravery in revealing the injustices of our own government in the name of democracy. His action paved the way for conversation. I hope that by giving audience members this capacity for action, they too can draw parallels between the concerns of today's society and threat of anti-democracy by starting a conversation about responsibility.
I think what theatre offers is an irreplaceable live experience, which transcends common entertainment. What videogames offer is a chance to have a symbiotic relationship with the material. By making a live Videogame theatre experience, I'm trying to find a way to give audience members agency, by giving them the responsibility of telling the story and prevent them from being passive. It's especially easy in a first world country to choose not to engage with tough topics when it is inconvenient for us to act- I hope that by initiating action through entertainment, I can begin a conversation about social responsibility.
Jenapher Zheng- Creative Director, Producer, Actor
Betty Hu- Producer
Todd Harper- Production Manager
Venice Yang- Stage Manager
Narae Kim- Scenic Design
Jesse Fryery- Lighting Design
Eugene Yang- Video Design
Malik Drawhorn- Sound Design
Brian Gilmartin- Technical Direction
Lynn Gross- Costume Design
Melanie Carroll-Dolci, Abby Salling, Quasar Wang- Run Crew Members