Monday, July 19, 2010

Theater of the Arcade: Five Classic Video Games Adapted For the Stage

I am pretty solidly video game agnostic, at best.

Back when I was 9 or 10 years old we had a really primitive, text based adventure game on our computer that was linked to my Dad's office via one of those War Games-style modems (I've provided a link to a picture for all you kids who may not know what I'm talking about). It was really buggy though, and you always wound up hitting a point where you would be stuck in a tunnel or something. And we had an Atari when I was in middle school. This is pretty much the extent of my video game experience. Oh. Occasionally, if I'm sick or catastrophically depressed I'll play a hidden object game or something. Essentially, any sort of game that happens in real time makes me anxious and upset.

So, yeah. I'm hardly the target audience for Piper McKenzie's Theater of the Arcade: Five Classic Video Games Adapted For the Stage (unlike their monkey show, where I was the precise target audience). Luckily, however, one exception notwithstanding, all the video games adapted had their greatest popularity when I was, like, twelve, so I pretty much knew what they were talking about. Of even more interest, each of the five video game adaptations also serve as a parody of a modern theatrical style or playwright. A Beckettian Frogger, a Stanley Kowalski-like oaf, hurling barrels at his Italian neighbors, and, best of all, an unbelievably delightful Brechtian musical about a round, voracious capitalist plagued by ghosts. Jeff Lewonczyk (AKA Mr. Hope Cartelli) penned the pieces, Gyda Arber directed beautifully, and I'd like to particularly mention frequent Piper McKenzie collaborator Fred Backus for his truly inspired portrayal of PacMan.

Everyone should go as it is super entertaining, and buy your tickets in advance as the gaming community has seemingly jumped on this like a theater starved pack of wolves. The performance I attended was packed to the rafters (with strangers!).

I have to say though, I am now hoping to one day see a Busby Berkeley style Space Invaders. Maybe performed in a swimming pool.

Theater of the Arcade: Five Classic Video Games Adapted For the Stage is being presented as a part of The Brick's Game Play festival. Tickets can be bought here.

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