410[GONE] is a new play by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig and directed by Evren Odcikin. It runs at the Thick House in San Francisco (1695 18th St., SF) through June 29th 2013. Heavily inspired by gaming aesthetics and Dance Dance Revolution in particular, 410[GONE] reconciles two different kinds of acting and performing:
"Where do we go when we die? In Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s dark and dazzling 410[GONE], that all depends on how you play the game. The stakes couldn’t be higher when a young woman goes in search of her lost brother in the Land of the Dead. On this fantastical journey into the underworld—a land ruled by the Chinese Goddess of Mercy and the Monkey King, where time is suspended, and Dance Dance Revolution holds the key to Transmigration—a sister and brother must face the ultimate question: if there is no love without pain, what does it mean to love?" (Crowded Fire Theater)
Here's an excerpt from Sam Hurwit' review on KQED:
"Director Evren Odcikin's fast-paced staging deftly incorporates the play's heavy technological element; Wesley Cabral's video and Goose Manriquez's animations bring the video game levels to life admirably. Sara Huddleston's sound design combines both oppressively chipper videogame music and traditional Chinese music, and Stephanie Buchner bathes the stage in colored lights to set a variety of otherworldly moods. Dominated by a pyramid-shaped screen with Dance Dance Revolution control pads in front of it, Odcikin's set doesn't look much like the video arcade that the boy describes it as when he arrives, what with a bathtub-turned-bed and a bank of red phones in the foreground, but it's an intriguing setting in any case. Devon LaBelle provides clever props such as a Lonely Planet guide to the Chinese Land of the Dead." (Sam Hurwit)
Laura Brueckner interviewed Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig on the Crowded Fire Theater's website. Here's an interesting tidbit:
"Well, in 410[GONE] the question is particular to the dramatic situation. A Chinese-American girl is looking for her dead brother, but doesn’t know where he might be, since his place of ancestry is not his place of death, and she is probably getting all kinds of mismatched information. My mother was raised Taoist and my father Catholic, and when I was living in Okinawa I went to a missionary school, where the teachers told us that the Japanese holiday Obon, where families sweep the graves of their ancestors and offer food, was a festival that worshipped Satan. So then I became confused and worried when I went to my mom’s village for Chinese New Year and saw her entire family worshipping Satan. It seems like cultural and religious beliefs are at their strongest when it comes to the unknowable—i.e., death and what might happen after—so that is also where there is a high opportunity for conflict and confusion in a person who lives in the margins/the spaces between two worlds." (Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig)
More about the relationship between Dance Dance Revolution and theater here. In the video below, videogame champion Omid Farivar plays DDR. Farivar worked with Crowded Fire Theater on their production of 410[GONE]. They needed someone who could dance a perfect sequence on DDR so that video designer, Wesley Cabral, could record the graphics. In doing so, Omid unlocked a "secret" bonus level. When game meets play...
Submitted by Matteo Bittanti