- Video Games
- About Us
Do you like video games? Do you like Performance Art as well? If you do, the Brick Theater in Brooklyn New York has a Performance Art festival for you. “Game Play” is running now through Sunday the 25th, and has a smorgasbord of video game-theme productions. Over the last week I had the chance to see several of them.
Theater of the Arcade was written by Jeff Lewoncyk and Directed by Gyda Arber; it consisted of five short plays, each telling the story of a classic video game, but written in the style of a famous playwright. It was the epitome of absurdist humor. Imagine if you will Asteroids as a tense workplace drama about spaceship pilots in a high-pressure competition right out of Glengarry Glen Ross. It’s a clever show with inside gags for both gamers and theatre fans, highly recommended for both demographics.
Modal Kombat calls itself “The first Ever Guitar-Controlled Video Game Battle”. In it Dave Hindman and Evan Drummond, two Klassical guitarists, have wired their guitars to serve a game controllers. They make the paddles in Pong move up and down by changing the pitch of their notes, steer Mario Kart vehicles by hitting different strings, and move Tetris blocks by alternating between the two guitars. Of course, they also play some Mortal Kombat too, while still making music at the same time. It’s an odd show, but definitely of interest for gamers who are also musicians. Of course it’s also recommended for techies who appreciate creative modding. Yes, the audience is invited to come onstage and try out the hardware.
The festival also has a multimedia performance A Short Lecture of a Different Time, a one-man show starring Karim Muasher, who tells the tale of Oldverse, the universe that came before our own. As Muasher addresses the audience, 8-bit animation plays out on a screen beside him telling the story of Pixel and Bit, two “Ice babies” who discover that their universe is heating up and will be destroyed in their lifetime. The simple animation and “Bleep Bloop” music are surprisingly touching and Muasher gives a delightful performance as the nebbishy Historian who walks the audience through this fairy tale.
“Game Play” has Machinima too. In Grand Theft Ovid Eddie Kim and a team of gamers set up a LAN in the theatre and used a projection screen to act out stories of Greek mythology, while a troupe of voice actors provided the dialogue and narration. It ended up being amateurish, with flat voice work and lots of downtime due to tech issues.
One sequence in Grand Theft Ovid did prove to be extremely entertaining, although I’m not sure if it was through genius or just bad planning. It involved telling the story of Apollo and Daphne using World of Warcraft. This was performed live with the virtual actors typing their dialogue right into the game. If you’ve ever seen a street theatre troupe being heckled by passersby, just image what happened when this theatre company started typing classical Greek poetry on the public channel at the gates of Ironforge. A peanut gallery of twelve-thousand WoW jerks unleashed a barrage of profanity and insults which filled the chat window during the entire performance. This alone will be worth the price of admission for some.
The festival has a different selection of performances each day through the 25th. More information available at: http://www.bricktheater.com/gameplay