Sunday, June 14, 2009

Suspicious Package: Rx

Have you ever wanted to be a mad scientist? (Or a sassy secretary, nerdy computer whiz, controlling general, and so on?) Now, thanks to the interactive camp and Twilight Zone plot of Gyda Arber's Suspicious Package: Rx, you can. Like last year's original noir, this brand-new installment turns the audience into actors, as each participant follows the cues of their trusty, synced Zune Media Player. It's there that the professionals appear, guiding you on a personal journey via prerecorded flashback scenes and character-developing internal monologues. If all the world's a stage, then Metropolitan Avenue, Williamsburg, makes as good a set as any. And for those of you with stage fright--and there's no need for that here, having fun among your peers--there's a drink at the end of the tunnel.

Slowly being exposed to the plot--in media res, so to speak--is part of the fun, so there's little to mention here. (Additionally, I played the part of the Doctor, so I can't speak for the moments where the other five plots go in a different direction.) Suffice to say that a company has developed a drug that "cures" depression (after some zombifying versions) and that this leads to some corporate espionage and citizen journalism. One recommendation: turn your headphones up, even if you don't think you'll need it--ambient noise on a busy afternoon can be rough.

Logistically, Rx is a smoother trip than last year's adventure: though you'll go into some "seedy" locations, you won't have to cross any streets to do so. Moreover, by increasing the "cast" to six people, there's a wider variety of scenes--and experiences--should you choose to return as a different character. The whole thing's neatly put together, and if it looks like you might miss a cue, the omnipresent director will set you back on track. One small issue: long-legged participants may find themselves arriving early, waiting for the next scene. This is really just a matter of wrapping the Suspicious Package--it doesn't need more backstory (though the actors are fun to watch, even in miniature), but it could use more scene-setting musical interludes.

That's a small quibble about how time is spent in the show, and it's made only because Rx leaves one greedy for more pill-popping action. It's well worth spending your own time on this terrific adventure.

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