September 5, 2007

The Sequence of Intimate Exchanges

by Andrew Stern · , 3:14 am

Or, Choose Your Own Choose-Your-Own-Adventure.

Choice #1, re-blogged here from Save the Robot: a play called Intimate Exchanges recently staged in NYC, as part of the annual Brits Off Broadway festival.

‘A 750-page epic by Alan Ayckbourn that asks 2 actors to play 10 characters in 8 interconnected plays.’ The two actors’ decisions at the beginning lead to different middles and ends. If the actress lights a cigarette in the first scene, it sets them down one path; if not, they go down another. Theatergoers have gone multiple times to catch the different permutations.

Also read about it in the NYTimes. Talk about let’s do it again, groundhog!

Choice #2, emailed to us from Jason Alderman: Knock Knock, by Jason Shiga, “is a 500-page handmade choose-your-own-adventure-style comic that’s set up like an old graphical adventure game, replete with inventory.” Image below. It’s available from Global Hobo; I’ve already ordered mine.

Choice #3, again ripped off from Save the Robot: an album by Morningbell called Through the Belly of the Sea, whose liner notes and corresponding audio tracks are structured as a CYOA.

The trick to the album is simple, and seems like a fun idea; you read the liner notes while listening, and after each track you are given two choices as to your next move. Relax on the coral reef? Fight the mysterious sea monster? The world is yours. For a lot of people, shuffling music around is a daily activity, so Belly’s batshitness is of a much lesser conceptual realization than that of, say, Zaireeka. But in a way, this is the most compelling aspect of Morningbell’s gimmick; its regressive approach toward listening technology, limiting iTunes’ infinite-choice power to but two post-song options. Along that line, perhaps a good idea to market the CDs might be a slogan like one from the back of a comic book: ‘Magically Transform iTunes Into a Paperback!’