Pandora Melly ventures backstage at the Royal Opera
Elijah Moshinsky, 50, associate producer, Royal Opera House

One of the boons of having two teenage sons is the opportunity they provide for you to become fanatical about computer games. I've been playing a 98-hour marathon called "Dark Savior" in which you go through hundreds of three-dimensional rooms on the computer screen, running through an obstacle course with bits of the floor continually disappearing.

You're supposed to save lives, and the whole game is governed by somebody called Big Boss Baddie - just like any of our great institutions. If you're a person with a theatrical imagination, you can become completely involved in all the drama and forget that it's only a game, which is really quite overwhelming.

I've decided that life is a bit like "Dark Savior": a theatre or a film set is full of the same kind of dangers and pitfalls. Usually you have to fight your way through all sorts of indecision and script editors and frustrations. I am sure there's a future in a computer game where a producer has to fight off a terrifying soprano.

"Mortal Kombat" is another excellent game. It's not for the faint-hearted: with a lethal karate chop you decapitate your foe and watch blood spurting out all over the place. It's a great stress-reliever after a day in rehearsal, and much more relaxing than a massage.

The other thing that I thought might be fun would be to develop a game called "The Critic's Room", in which monstrous creatures called "Kritiks" shoot at you from different angles. You win by remaining standing, and at the end of your life it finishes with an award ceremony.

What appeals to me about such games is that you can change everything so easily. They're instant playlets, and I rather like the idea that just by pressing buttons, you can do away with actors and actresses altogether.

Backstage bleeping at the ROH courtesy of Nintendo's `Gameboy Pocket'. Plays Mortal Kombat, Donkey Kong, Star Wars and others. pounds 49.99 from major retailers

(01703-653377 for details).

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