• Theatre
  • Multimedia
  • Video Game
  • Run Ended


Showing on Jan 20-Feb 3

Playing at Waterfront Theatre

A wideshot of a person facing a projection on a stage. The projection is a glowing blue square pattern. There are light blue shards floating out from the square. The person is standing in the front row, with their arms slightly lifted on their sides.

Patrick Blenkarn and Milton Lim (Canada)

The unemployed donkeys have one demand: the humans must surrender their machines and give all donkeys their jobs back. But revolution is never easy!

asses.masses is a custom-made video game about labour, technophobia and sharing the load of revolution, designed to be played from beginning to end in a live theatre. This is gaming as performance; an immersive, cheeky and highly original work. Brave spectators take turns at the controller to lead the herd through a post-Industrial society, where asses are valued more for their hides than their potential.

Confronting automation driven job loss, nostalgia as a barrier to progress, and the role of technology in adaptation, we are encouraged to find space between the work that defines us and the play that frees us. asses.masses is Animal Farm meets Pokémon meets Final Fantasy: as exciting in form as it is in content. No previous gaming (or donkey) experience required.

Sending an audience member up to that podium is a sign of trust, and that faith creates a sense of responsibility to the “herd” that is extremely affective for the audience player. To agree to make decisions on behalf of the group is a brave thing… as a collective we quite quickly set a tone where folks felt comfortable shouting out suggestions and tips to the player at the front […] Even though the controller is in their hands, we are working together.

Charlotte Dorey, PLAY: The Blog

Co-creators Patrick Blenkarn and Milton Lim were interviewed on the PuSh Play podcast by Gabrielle Martin, Director of Programming. Listen to the podcast episode here.

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Artist Bio

Patrick Blenkarn and Milton Lim (Canada)

Patrick Blenkarn and Milton Lim are conceptual artists based in Vancouver, BC. Their collaborations include video games, participatory installations, and card games, exploring urgent questions around social value of art, digital labour, and the political and artistic potential of games. They’re also the co-founders of the national video archive of Canadian performance documentation, videocan.


Waterfront Theatre

1412 Cartwright Street, Granville Island, Vancouver


  • January 20: 1pm
  • January 27: 1pm
  • February 3: 1pm

Duration: Approx. 7.5 hrs, 4 intermissions

asses.masses is a durational experience that is not intended for audiences to come and go. Like binge-watching a series, missing sections of the show means that you will miss significant portions of the narrative. There will be breaks with food and a bar available for the length of the show. Latecomers are allowed but encouraged to get there on time or they will miss the introduction.

Content Advisory

Flashing lights, audience participation, violence, crude language, simulated donkey sex


Pay your wage: from $16.75
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Icon signalling a relaxed performance (casual or low sensory)

Extra Live (Always Relaxed)

Includes unvoiced written English

View Full Access Guide

View Waterfront Theatre Visual Story Guide


Co-direction, text, programming, pixel art, 2D animation Patrick Blenkarn (Canada) Co-direction, text, sound design, video, shaders, 3D visual effects Milton Lim (Canada) Dramaturgy, text, touring producer Laurel Green (Canada) Original music, sound design David Mesiha (Canada) Pixel art, 2D animation Clarissa Picolo (Brazil) Pixel art, 2D animation William Roth (France) 3D environments Ariadne Sage (Germany) Additional programming Samuel Reinhart (USA) Spanish translation Marcos Krivocapich (Argentina) 

Created with support from Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, The Theatre Centre, VIVO Media Arts, Embassy of Canada to Argentina and Paraguay. Developed with the funding support from Creative BC and the British Columbia Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts. 

Produced in association with the National Arts Centre of Canada’s National Creation Fund.