From immersive mystery to tabletop games, local participatory theatre collective ATTEMPTS has always been pushing at the boundaries of what constitutes live theatre. And this December, they’ll be embarking on yet another experiment in form with their show Dating Sim (beta ver. Zoom).
Previously performed live as part of Centre 42’s Late Night Texting (2019) and in its current Zoom incarnation at the Thornhill Virtual Fringe Festival in August 2020, get another chance to experience this unique theatre/game experience when it returns for two nights only this December. Set in the not-so-distant future, global conglomerate ARC controls everything from cradle to grave. To boost fertility rates, ARC is beta-testing Mate-Match, an algorithm designed to find perfect romantic matches for everyone. Audiences will play groups of beta-testers, who will participate in a dating simulation where they’ll be asked to make choices collectively in order to mine data to predict the perfect match.
Game-designed by Rei Poh, directed by Cheryl Tan Yun Xin, and co-written by Rei Poh and Zee Wong, there are more than 30 different timelines and scenarios in the show, where anything and everything could happen based on audience decisions at key points during the show. While its title may bring to mind Japanese visual novels or dating apps like Tinder, Dating Sim will instead be subverting the form and male gaze, inviting the audience to examine their agency and prejudices in modern dating and relationships through an examination of technology, video games, and theatre.
Game designer, co-playwright and ATTEMPTS founding member Rei Poh says: “We want to create something that is absorbing and fun, with a side of provocation – there’s something thrilling about choose-your-own-adventure games, and peeking into others’ dating lives. At the same time, we hope to get people thinking about their own perspectives and blind spots when it comes to romantic relationships.”
Dating Sim (beta ver. Zoom) by ATTEMPTS plays on 13th and 20th December 2020 on Zoom. Tickets available from Eventbrite