This week, I will be covering two shows in The Brick Theater’s Game Play Festival. Not much to Pre-Game, but I did want to get a few things down before posting reviews later this week.
This is the fifth year of the Festival, which highlights works that live at the crossroads of video gaming and performing arts, and I am embarrassed to say this is the first time I’ve gotten to it… and even now just barely, since this is the tail end of the Festival. I did, however, see Jeff Lewonczyk’s killer Theater of the Arcade in the 2011 Fringe Festival, its second stop after originating in the Game Play Festival three years ago. Lewonczyk’s series of mash-ups of iconic video games and theater styles (imagine the Super Mario Brothers in a Sam Shepard play) was probably the best thing I’ve seen in the Fringe, and is definitely one of my favorite shows out of all the years I’ve been seeing theater in New York.
In 2011, which was apparently my year for this sort of thing, Ars Nova also presented “The Wii Plays,” several very short plays based on the titles of some of the B-List games that were available for Nintendo’s Wii console at the time. I only mention these here to give the illusion that I have some kind of street cred when it comes to the remixing theater for the gamer crowd and vice-versa. In truth, I’m not a video game guy, but I grew up on them and have a lot of friends who are very serious about them, so I appreciate a lot of the humor peripherally. (The old school game videos on Dorkly are one of my favorite things on the internet.)
First up is The Photo Album, an interactive smart-phone scavenger hunt from The Story Gym. From the press notes, the concept seems in line with immersive interpersonal experiences like Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More and PS 122’s Hotel Savoy. I tend to love things like this, but one wonders how much of that sort of experience can be communicated in the listed runtime of about an hour.
I will also be seeing Ligature Marks, from Mac Rogers, Jordana Williams and the usual folks at Gideon Productions. I’ve already said an awful lot about Rogers’ and Williams’ work leading up to my review for their spectacular Frankenstein Upstairs. Relationships are something Rogers does immensely well, and the question, again going off the press notes, of what sort of role a time consuming MMO can play within a relationship is probably more relevant than I am aware these days. It will also be interesting to see Rogers perform in the piece — I have never seen him deliver anything more than a curtain speech.
Anyway… my mobile device is charged and I’ve downloaded all the requisite apps, so game on.
(Seriously, The Photo Album requires an app.)