Choose your Own Adventure in the Theatre
How do you bring the “Choose Your Own Adventure” games to the stage? Samuel Fry reviews Seth Kriebel’s show “A House Repeated”.
Typically, when someone constructs a show we expect there to be two main roles: the actors and the audience. It is why we sit facing each other. The stage sits on one side and the audience sit on the other.
A House Repeated is no typical show. A House Repeated is a game.
Walking up the marble stairs of the Battersea Arts Centre, we found ourselves on the landing. We turned west into the New Committee Room. The room was set up with seating on both sides and a performance space in the centre. Once we sat down, each side became a team and together we navigated our way through an imaginary building.
A House Repeated takes its inspiration for the “Choose Your Own Adventure” computer games of the 1980s. Created by writer and performer Seth Kriebel, the game asks its audience to decide where the story goes as they navigate their way around a building inspired by the Battersea Arts Centre itself. Although, this is no ordinary place, as hidden away are secret stations, dusty bedrooms and a number of unusual objects.
The game is not new. It takes its inspiration from Kriebel’s previous show “An Unbuilt Room”, where an audience of 6 navigate their way through a similar environment. The difference here is that the audience, now nearer 50, are split into two and they compete to find new spaces, they meet each other and even create spaces of their own.
As an audience, we held back to begin with; yet, as we began to let go of our inhibitions we became more adventurous. We were told that we could choose to “Go East”, “Go West” or “Go Up”. We decided to ignore those suggestions and explore the space ourselves. Whether that meant picking up an object or peeking behind a painting. Sometimes we would just decide to “Get naked!” or “Put a bucket on our head!”
The show was fun, imaginative and sometimes a little silly. These seemed to be traits that Seth Kriebel was trying to bring to this immersive experience. Alongside his fellow narrator Zoe Bouras, without getting people on their feet or by using props, they created a safe and enjoyable space to explore an imaginary world.