PuSh Blog

Rimini Protokoll’s Best Before: A triumphant achievement

October 21, 2010

by Associate Curator Sherrie Johnson

Rimini Protokoll’s Best Before is undeniably one of the most innovative and successful works of the last theatre season. After its debut at the 2010 PuSh Festival in Vancouver, a collaboration locally with The Cultch and the Cultural Olympiad, Best Before has been performed and applauded at the most important international theatre festivals around the world, from HAU in Berlin to Luminato in Toronto, to La Batie – Festival de Geneve.

Rimini Protokoll is well known for productions that are halfway between entertainment and social investigation. With Best Before, Stefan Kaegi and Helgard Haug, have tried their hand with the multi-player videogame, by bringing real life situations to the stage in ways that have never been done before – by putting the spectator centre stage and giving them control to decide their destiny.

Holding a “game controller”, each audience member moves an anonymous avatar – called an“actor” – around the Bestland videogame, interacting with a group of experts who command the stage: a traffic control flagger, a game tester, a technician, a musician and a game analyst. These experts comment on each scene on the basis of the personal, social and political choices taken by the audience of 200.

“I choose to drink alcohol and smoke marijuana, but I won’t take heroin, although I support its legislation. I nearly have sex at 15, but chicken out at the last minute, thus avoiding a teenage pregnancy and a possible abortion.” Christine Madden, The Irish Times.

Since the premiere in January 2010, Best Before has toured to 12 cities: On The Boards (Seattle), HAU (Berlin), Brighton Festival (Brighton, UK), Luminato (Toronto), Cork Midsummer (Cork, Ireland), LIFT (London), Teatro Romo (Pachuca, Mexico), Teatro El Galeon (Mexico City), Aarhus Festival (Aarhus, Denmark), La Batie – Festival de Geneve (Switzerland), Fondazione del Teatro Stabile di Torino (Italy) CSS Udine (Italy).

Currently, PuSh is putting together dates for the 2011. The company will head back our on the road in February to perform at the Warwick Arts Centre (UK) and the opening of La Gaite Lyrique in Paris (France).

Commissioned by PuSh International Performing Arts Festival
Co-Producers: Goethe-Institut, Brighton Festival, Hebbel – Theater Berlin GmbH, Luminato – Toronto Festival of Arts and Creativity, PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, Rimini Apparat, The Cultch, La Bâtie – Festival de Genève. Supported by Arts Partners in Creative Development and the Federal Republic of Germany.

For further information regarding Best Before, please contact Sherrie Johnson at sherrie@pushfestival.ca

“Walking outside the theatre and looking left and seeing Buckingham Palace and then walking to the right for 2 minutes and being at Trafalgar square was as exciting as I always thought it would be…I WAS IN LONDON!”- Dani Fecko, Best Before Tour Manager.

Click here to read Best Before’s tour manager blog about her experience on the road.
Click here to read her latest update.
Click here to read a Curatorial Statement by Sherrie Johnson and Norman Armour.