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Review: Ten Red Kings

New Play Explores Gaming Dependency


The massively popular multiplayer online role-playing game known as World of Warcraft (WoW) may seem like an odd point of departure for a contemporary play — or you may be saying to yourself, “It’s about time.” Either way, that’s what playwright Mark Rigney has used to jump-start Ten Red Kings, which weaves together dramatizations of WoW gameplay with a framing story about a camp in Montana where people go to recover from gaming addictions. Margot Cates, ably played by Sabrina Wagner, is a grieving teen whose parents order her to give up her gaming habit, even though Nightwatch (Hannah Wade), her WoW avatar, remains her closest connection to her dead sister, Courtney (Samantha Demangate). Margot’s powerful emotional connection to not one but two characters supposedly inhabiting parallel worlds — her avatar in WoW and her sister as a kind of memory ghost — puts extraordinary pressure on the “real” situation she’s in at the camp.

<em>Ten Red Kings</em>
Click to enlarge photo

Ben Crop

Ten Red Kings

Fortunately, the other campers provide plenty of contrast and comic relief. Vera Olin and Colton Fair have a lot of fun with their characters, Paula and Joey, and Amanda Probst holds her own against the unruly lot as the head counselor, Rhonda. There are also plenty of trolls and zombies, and even a silly wizard named Varleigh (Lazer Friedman). While Ten Red Kings may not provide the last word on gaming addiction, it should satisfy the demand for plays about World of Warcraft for some time.

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