With every choice you make in real life, you rule out thousands of other possible lives. But how do you make sure that you make the right choices?

Joachim Rümke created the theatrical installation Once is Never, with this question in mind.

Rümke grew up with Role Playing Games (RPGs): video games that send the player on a quest to save the world. In these games, there is only one path to walk, with a final boss to defeat. Entering adult life Joachim finds out that real life isn’t like an RPG. Real life has no final bosses and there is no pre-planned path. You have to determine this path yourself.

But Joachim has had enough of determining the course of his life. Once is Never is a video game in which the audience, with a game controller in their hand, has to make the important choices for Joachim’s future: Dog or no dog? Go back to his ex? Stay in Groningen or go to Amsterdam?

What are the consequences of choices that others make for him? How do these influence his life course? And will there be that pre-planned path that Joachim so secretly longs for?


  • Performed
  • Worm, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  • Grand Theatre, Groningen, The Netherlands
  • Zaal 3, The Hague, The Netherlands
  • Erasmushuis, Jakarta, Indonesia
  • Type
  • Performance
  • Concept and execution
  • WERC
  • Creative Producer
  • Joran de Boer
  • Marketing
  • Lara Harbers

  • Text supervisor
  • Koos Terpstra
  • Final direction
  • Karel Hermans
  • Music
  • Wilco Alkema
  • Information for programmers
  • Once is never game