My guide ushers me behind a red velvet curtain and gestures to a chair.
Opposite me stands a large mirror and a small table with a notebook, pen
and some Lego figurines. The minutes tick by. I begin to get the
uncanny feeling that someone is watching me from behind the glass.
A Game of You is the third of a trilogy of experimental theater pieces
from the Belgian company Ontroerend Goed. Billed on the group's website
as “one of those artistic crossings you're not likely to forget soon,” A
Game of You invites you to take a close look in the mirror — both
literally and figuratively. The aim? To find out who you really are.
The project has been brought to the capital by Fyodor Elyutin, one of the producers of Remote Moscow — an interactive theater company that has run a series of successful alternative theater experiences around the city.
This latest offering is a little different from Remote Moscow. Rather than travelling around the city, you walk through a series of rooms, encountering several “guides” and covertly spying on other participants via two-way mirrors and video screens. But remember that the game isn't about them, it's about you.
It would be a shame to ruin the experience by spilling the beans on everything that went on behind the 1920s style reception desk where you are greeted — oddly reminiscent of something from the Grand Budapest Hotel. Suffice to say it's a disorientating, insightful and at times a downright cringe-worthy experience.
In one encounter a guide stands in front of you, blocking your path. They then begin to mimic your actions, answer your questions with questions and copy your every expression as you flail around trying to get some sense of what you should be doing.
In the last room you engage in a kind of strange, self-reflective peep show. With the aid of headphones you listen to a guide, who has been watching you as you travel through the experience, become you.
The same hair flick, the same hand gestures, the same wishes, desires and hopes for the future. In my case even the same Russian with a heavy British accent. It's a disconcerting encounter with the person you should know best of all — yourself.
A Game of You runs through July 31. The experience lasts 30 minutes, and you can arrange for an English language version by calling the administrator. Tickets cost 1,600 rubles. Tsvetnoi Univermag. 15 Tsvetnoi Bulvar. Metro Tsvetnoi Bulvar. agameofyou.ru.