Cavern – The Vaults
Reviewed – 8th February 2020
“a unique and and exciting experience”
Ever look at the corrupt, greed-driven hellscape that it is modern society and think, ‘I really wish we could just start over?’ If the answer is yes, then luckily for you Republic at the VAULT Festival will be right up your alley – though it might not fully restore your hope in humanity.
The audience are siphoned off into the eight different nations that form the colonies of Mars in 2119, and you are tasked with designing a new civilisation. It is up to you in your groups of ten or so to decide what ideals and industries you will build your society on; you’ll have to make initial choices such as whether to invest in weapons or medicine, which then branch out into how you spend your resources over time. Do you pour money into food at the expense of security? Or do you risk famine to prevent foreign attacks? The decisions you make will directly impact on the ways your nation develops through Upstart Theatre’s futuristic AI tablets (that look suspiciously like iPads) which calculate how well your industries are doing and what kind of headlines your leadership is making.
The decisions that have to be made can also spark some fiery debate with your fellow leaders – you will get the most out of Republic by being as active a participant as possible. Occasionally unexpected events will arise such as an incoming storm or a virus infecting your technology, and one particular highlight saw a refugee ship from Earth seeking asylum on Mars, and all eight nations had to vote together to decide whether to accept or reject them, considering Earth’s threats of attack if we chose the former. Moments such as these that brought together the whole room had an electric and dynamic atmosphere, and leaves you wishing there were a few more instances of connectivity between the different nations that tested your moral compass in this way.
That said, Republic is a unique and and exciting experience that lets you work with others to develop something that you feel proud of by its conclusion – success requires conversation, unity, and compassion; ideals that we could always do with more of.
Reviewed by Ethan Doyle