The Game of Life

Today, the final project of the Freedom Art Retreat (but probably not the last blog entry.)  We were determined to work with anyone we had not yet worked with, and divided into teams accordingly while maintaining the one playwright/one dramaturg/one designer ratio.  My team secluded in the “mood room” off the dining room.

the original 1860 board

“What shall we make today?”

Something fun, someone said.  Something we haven’t done before, said another.  Nothing too deep, came another voice.  It was, after all, our last adventure together and we wanted to play lightly.

So, we played.  The discussion turned to boardgames.  What phrases from games did we remember?  “Draw Four!”  “Old Maid!” and “Go Directly to Jail!” floated across the table.  We settled on the Game of Life.  Did you know that the first version of the Game of Life was published by Milton Bradley as a parlor game in 1860?  Cheers to our dramaturg for that fact, and for the ensuing picture of the original board.

From that board, and the ensuing 1960 and 1991 updates, sprang our main character, our Everyman, on the journey in his little plastic car.  We conjured images of tragic plastic highway wrecks, and of multiple children dangling from the vehicle when there were no more seats (“because you didn’t just get another car if you had a lot of children,” someone pointed out.)  We wrote his game-winning journey, from stopping for a career and marriage, to getting fired, to falling into drink, and eventually finding true happiness in his little plastic family.  All the elements of the game were laid out on sheets of paper representing either the squares you land on, or the cards you draw.  For extra fun, we threw in a few extra decisions for the really modern audience.  Will it go on to another life somewhere else?  Who knows.  But we had a lot of fun putting it together.

The game cards, on deck

Some decisions were harder than others

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