O Brave New World
Dowling Studio Lobby
After scoring a pair of comps (thanks Reid!) the Weaver and I were able to attend a pair of one-act plays at the Guthrie Theater's Dowling studio. In the intimate "box" setting these new plays showcased 16 young actors from the University of Minnesota's B.F.A. Actor's Training Program. The first play, Victoria Stewart’s In Game or Real, is a modern riff on Shakespeare's The Tempest, "exploring the betrayals and epic wins possible in the virtual world of online video games." That may sound like a recipe for disaster but the extremely appealing cast along with the play's clever mixing of real and virtual "realities", made for a very enjoyable experience. Special note must be made of the efforts of Angela Janas and Paris Hunter Paul as love-struck lawyers working on opposing sides of an effort to reconcile feuding RPG creators whose game becomes a nice metaphor for the battle of the sexes. Lively direction and a stunning fight choreography (Suzy Messerole and Annie Enneking, respectively) made this play a hoot from start to finish.
Gregory S. Moss’ dreamlike drama Golden Age portrays a tribe of runaways striving to forge an alternative family. This was a more serious play, dealing with youthful alienation and desire. Another good cast, although the play's dialog veered uneasily between teen vernacular and high drama— at times very effective, at times downright clunky. That said, the story was well structured and reached a satisfying conclusion. Benjamin McGovern's direction was a touch static, possibly constrained by the nature of the play.
Both of these productions would be standouts in a fringe festival, In Game or Real was immensely entertaining, while Golden Age (with some reworking) has probably the the greatest potential.