Theater Review: In Everscape, a Gripping Collision of Real and Online Worlds | Arts
Arts
INDY Week's arts blog

Archives | RSS | Follow on

Friday, October 14, 2016

Theater Review: In Everscape, a Gripping Collision of Real and Online Worlds

Posted by on Fri, Oct 14, 2016 at 5:00 PM

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF EVERSCAPETHEPLAY.WEEBLY.COM
  • photo courtesy of everscapetheplay.weebly.com
EverScape
★★★★
Through October 23
Sonorous Road Theater, Raleigh


The reason I got out of database interface design? Those all-night coding sessions felt more and more like out-of-body experiences the longer they went on. Manipulating constructs in a weightless, three-dimensional environment was fun; it felt like stepping off the planet and the clock. But re-entry into an exhausted, sluggish body afterward became progressively problematic over time. Then I began wishing that I didn’t have to—re-enter, that is. That’s when I knew I had to quit.

I’ve always seen more than a tinge of bait-and-switch in popular multiplayer games like the one depicted in Allan Maule’s drama EverScape, now making its regional premiere in a joint staging by Bare Theatre and Sonorous Road Productions one year after taking honors at the New York Fringe Festival. It redefines irony when such mediated worlds provide online avatars with virtually enhanced bodies, as their interfaces render the actual bodies of their players increasingly inert and out of shape.

Foster (Areon Mobasher), the leader of a group we follow online and off through this tale, asserts that gaming’s just a matter of context: “Our grandparents went to the movies, our parents slept in front of the TV,” he notes at the start. But were the lives of either generation so thoroughly bifurcated as the quartet we meet here? In Maule’s closely reasoned discourse, it’s telling when real and online worlds begin to sabotage each other, as contrived abilities (for qualities like magic, healing, and destruction) granted players in the game are achieved through disabling choices in reality.

Gil (Chris Hinton) is a savvy young chaotician who effortlessly disrupts the best-laid battle plans, but his job performance is seriously slipping. Under Heather J. Strickland’s direction, Samantha Corey’s kick-ass Kirin amusingly populates her otherworld with zombified customers and coworkers at her coffee shop workplace, but her vulnerability is real when algorithmically guaranteed online rewards keep distracting her from the less certain outcomes of a project that just might get her into design school.

When a work feels this brief after ninety minutes, I encourage the playwright to explore some of the surfaces he’s barely scratched. And though online and real worlds blur into each other in Maule’s script, the lack of borderlines isn’t always functional in Strickland’s staging. Still, for the second time this fall, Sonorous Road has presented a work specifically aimed at a demographic no other theater in the region is addressing. Like the couple in Duncan Macmillan’s Lungs, the characters in EverScape are millennials struggling to come into their own. Disturbingly, they find a dystopian, eternal war zone preferable to the world in which they actually live.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Pin It

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Arts



Twitter Activity

Comments

I agree that the vocal work is incredible! And, I thought that the well-made and beautifully-designed set really supported the …

by Judy Dove on Theater Review: Dogfight's Regional Premiere at NRACT Is Rich in Emotion But Meager in Staging (Arts)

In the last 5 years, 11 of the 15 musicals NRACT produced were premieres in the region. I commend them …

by James Ilsley on Theater Review: Dogfight's Regional Premiere at NRACT Is Rich in Emotion But Meager in Staging (Arts)

Most Read

Most Recent Comments

I agree that the vocal work is incredible! And, I thought that the well-made and beautifully-designed set really supported the …

by Judy Dove on Theater Review: Dogfight's Regional Premiere at NRACT Is Rich in Emotion But Meager in Staging (Arts)

In the last 5 years, 11 of the 15 musicals NRACT produced were premieres in the region. I commend them …

by James Ilsley on Theater Review: Dogfight's Regional Premiere at NRACT Is Rich in Emotion But Meager in Staging (Arts)

Instead of luxury apartments(AHEM Carborro) and new restaurants, build more parking?!(Just one parking garage would help a lot, cover it …

by ammi on The Bookshop Brought Many Rare and First Editions—and Two Famous Cats—to Franklin Street for Thirty-Two Years (Arts)

The last thing Chapel Hill needs is another damn restaurant.

by Chrysser on The Bookshop Brought Many Rare and First Editions—and Two Famous Cats—to Franklin Street for Thirty-Two Years (Arts)

Wow. I guess you can't recognize brilliant satire when you see it. This was an amazing performance that if you …

by Sam Bayer on ADF Review: Hillel Kogan's We Love Arabs Lags Behind a Cultural Conversation Already Well Underway in Our Region's Performing Arts Scene (Arts)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation