Test1Playwright: Stephen Near
Director: Aaron Joel Craig
Cast: Stephen Near, Sara Weber

Review by: John Girhiny

Dana and Drew are two LARP gamers who stage a retelling of their past to learn the truth of their relationship in-game and out-of-character. But as the rules change their story becomes an ever challenging quest to be won at all costs. From the writer of the 2011 Fringe hit Interface, comes a drama about the ins and outs of love and the masks we all wear. Recipient of 3rd Place in 2013 Hamilton Fringe New Play Competition. Premiere.

For the reader: LARP is an acronym for Live Action Role Play.

The performance begins with the recitation of the rules which is quickly followed by the statement “ no one plays by the rules – in character or not”. This is repeated at the end of the show as well. We learn that Dana is married but her husband (Colin) does not come to the LARP conventions (cons). Drew has a “girlfriend”, Brigette, who is also not interested.

Over a year of attending cons every two or three months the story of Dana and Drew evolve. Their meetings at each con provide new insights into their interactions, both in the game and out of character. They decide to do a variation of LARPing by exchanging emails between cons.

At Seattle Dana slept with a guy and got pregnant. She and her husband had agreed that they did not want children. She miscarries and expresses her emotions as not feeling as she expected.

What is true? – one’s character or what one believes himself/herself to be.

One easily correctable flaw in last night’s performance is when the party music comes on it is so loud that several lines are lost.

Stephen Near, the playwright and the actor, has this play as a labour of love for the self-professed geek playwright who has plenty of experience in the world of LARP. He played Dungeons and Dragons in his teens but soon moved on to LARP where players inhabit characters and storylines in real world venues. Near credits his love of theatre for drawing him into live-action thanks to the similarities between performing onstage and acting with other players in a LARP.

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