Wednesday, June 27, 2012

GAME PLAY Artist Interview: Kathryn Funkhouser ("The Sequel")

My piece explores the intersection between theater and gaming by making the characters who inhabit the game just as "real" as the characters playing the game.

When people say video games aren't art I tend to point to comics. Like video games, people considered comics to be just violent stories for kids, but the genre evolved into something sophisticated enough that people now take it seriously. When video games find their equivalent of Watchmen, I think they'll start getting more respect.

An obstacle to the general acceptance of games as an art form is the focus on mindless violence in a lot of popular games. However, if you made the argument that all movies are not art because of the existence and popularity of Transformers, people would think you were crazy, so hopefully video games can travel a similar path to movies, where crowd-pleasing violence exists but so does more thought-provoking fare.

My most emotional reaction elicited by a game is probably how nostalgic I get for growing up with my brother when I play Mario Kart. We were (and are) a spectacular DoubleDash!! team.

What video games in performance provide that traditional media cannot is connecting us to the human side of gaming. People put a lot of themselves into games: when your avatar gets shot, no one says "my character died." You say, "I'm dead." Having the human experience you have playing a game represented by other humans in a theater piece helps you think about that experience. That may or may not make sense...

People should see my Game Play show because our team is determined that you'll have as much fun watching it as we're having doing it. Also, zombies!

Kathryn Funkhouser is the author of The Sequel. The show runs July 7 28, 2012. Tickets can be purchased here.  

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