On July 9, the second annual Game Play festival begins at Brooklyn's non-profit Brick Theater. For 2010, Game Play features Ovid by way of Grand Theft Auto, the theoretical physics of Game Boy, and hard dramatic readings of Donkey Kong.
Here's Game Play 2010's mission statement and line-up of shows from the Brick's press release:
Is art playable? Are video games cinematic? Is machinima theatrical? Are smartphones a stage? Is there an architecture that connects these diverse media forms? What boundaries can be broken within (and without) the walls of an Off-Off Broadway Theater to change your view? With the increasing maturity of the modern video game, the possibilities for multi-media cross-over artworks cry out to be explored.
Boot up your think pad, open your horizon expansion application and prepare to log in to The Brick's GAME PLAY: A CELEBRATION OF VIDEO GAME PERFORMANCE ART July 9-25, 2010.
Game Play explores the collision of technology, theater, performance art, and video game culture by staging the collaborative work of performance and media artists across the digital spectrum. For 2009, Game Play's inaugural year, works for the celebrated festival included "Adventure Quest," "Thank You, but Our Princess Is in Another Castle," and "Suspicious Package: Rx." Full coverage at www.bricktheater.com/gameplay2009.
Grand Theft Ovid
Eddie Kim returns to the Brick to present tales from Ovid's Metamorphoses, utilizing his distinctive style of digital puppetry. Characters from World of Warcraft, Halo 3, and Grand Theft Auto 4, among other games, will be projected on a large screen in front of an audience and manipulated by gamers. They will be linked to each other and to others over the internet to play out Ovid's stories, including "Niobe"; "Daedalus and Icarus"; and "Apollo and Daphne." A follow-up to last year's "Thank You, but Our Princess Is in Another Castle," which Theateronline.com described as a "'60s happening for the digital age," and Hemispheres Magazine called "an act of 21st century puppetry." With a new translation of stories by Carrie Thomas and featuring music by Oxygenstar, Eddie Kim's newest machinima piece uses more game systems and more games. Watch as classical stories are fleshed out in pixels and given life in worlds usually inhabited by night elves, aliens, and dirty cops.
Sat July 10, 3pm; Sun July 11, 4:30pm; Wed July 14, 7pm; Sat July 17, 5pm; Sun July 18, 2pm; Thurs July 22, 7pm; Sat July 24, 7pm; Sun July 25, 5pm
Kewl-Aid Man in Second Life
Join Kewl-Aid Man on a live guided tour of the online virtual world Second Life. The audience decides what user-generated realms the tour visits-furry sex clubs, a psychedelic jungle world, or a Blade Runner–esque megacity. Live critical commentary and a discussion of the implications of virtual worlds for modern society accompany the tour, followed by a Q&A. The alter ego of net art/new media artist Jon Rafman, Kewl-Aid Man is a secular icon that resonates with decades come and gone.
Sat July 10, 10pm
Photo Credit: Lori Deemer
Modal Kombat, The first ever guitar-controlled video game battle, has arrived. Formed by guitarists David Hindman and Evan Drummond, this forward-thinking ensemble has developed technology that allows classical-electric guitars to control the characters in console video games. Modal Kombat lies at the intersection between music, visual arts, and digital media that results in the defining of a new genre of audio-visual performance: the public guitar-controlled video game battle. Modal Kombat delivers an interdisciplinary performance concerned with the media of modern classical performance, emerging technologies, and popular culture by having its foundation in fields as wide-ranging as composition, performance, lighting design, computer programming, and circuit design. This modern-day dueling banjos raises the bar for performers, composers, interface designers, and competitive gamers, while delivering an engaging combination of music and classic video game competition.
Sat July 10, 8pm; Fri July 16, 9pm; Sat July 17, 2pm; Thurs July 22, 9pm; Sat July 24, 9pm
A Short Lecture of a Different Time
Come and hear the story of the OLDVERSE: the universe before this one, long dead and gone. Two lovers meet and soon discover the truth about their existence: their universe is dying, burning up into flames. Told by the Historian, a mysterious corduroy-clad stranger, this show asks the questions: How do you stop the unstoppable? How do you face the inevitable? A combination of Nintendo graphics, Game Boy music, and theoretical physics; acclaimed theatre creator Karim Muasher single-handedly creates an 8-bit universe of wit and wonder.
Sun July 11, 2pm; Thurs July 15, 7pm; Tuesday July 20, 8pm; Fri July 23, 7pm; Sat July 24, 2pm
Theater of the Arcade: Five Classic Video Games Adapted for the Stage
An apelike brute holds an innocent young woman captive and attacks anyone who dares approach. A glutton eats everything in sight while running away from the ghosts that haunt him. Are these the plots of classic video games, or are they searing narratives of modernist drama? In this collection of short plays, the creators of Brick hits Suspicious Package and Craven Monkey and the Mountain of Fury explore what happens when stories born of the arcade are given the high literary respect and dramaturgical rigor they deserve.
Written by Jeff Lewonczyk, directed by Gyda Arber.
Tues July 13, 8pm; Thurs July 15, 9pm; Fri July 16, 7pm; Sat July 17, 7pm; Sun July 18, 7pm;
Wed July 21, 8pm; Fri July 23, 9pm; Sun July 25, 2pm
Along with these performances, the Brick is hosting chiptunes and arcade-cyborg dance parties and a week-long performance of Primo Levi's The Monkey's Wrench conducted through text messaging and RSS feeds. You can find more information about Game Play 2010 here.