Level 10 bard: New show combines tabletop gaming with musical theater • Brooklyn Paper

Level 10 bard: New show combines tabletop gaming with musical theater

Dungeon masters: The cast and crew of “Tabletop Cabaret: Hedgepig Races” test out their game at the Twenty Sided Store.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Call it dungeons and dragons and duets.

A new show starting at the Brick Theater on July 19 will fuse tabletop role-playing games with musical theater. In “Tabletop Cabaret: Hedgepig Races,” which is playing as part of the theater’s annual Game Play Festival, audience members will participate in a traditional pen, paper, and dice game, while actors tell the story through improvisation and song.

“The main difference between this and a traditional tabletop game is that more than one person will be running your game, and some of them will just happen to be singing to you instead of speaking to you,” said Lisa Reinke, artistic director of interactive theater company the Story Gym.

This show is not made for spectators, said Reinke. Each audience member will choose from an array of characters — which include standard fantasy types such as elves and dwarves, in addition to characters inspired by classic video games, such as Italian plumbers and green dinosaurs. They will then break off into small groups, which must work to race a mining cart pulled through a mountain by a giant “hedgepig” (basically a hedgehog).

“Overall, the people at your table will work together to get to get your party’s giant hedgepig to the center of the mountain before the other audience members,” said Reinke, who also teaches theater and speech at Brooklyn College.

Periodically, the actors will perform funny, original songs to establish the imaginary world, and give updates on how the story is progressing.

The show, which the Story Gym has been working on for about half a year, is a collaboration between Reinke’s company and Williamsburg game store the Twenty Sided Store. Staff from the Brick and the Story Gym all play tabletop games together at the store, which is located just a few blocks from the theater, said Reinke.

“It is very much a community effort between these three businesses that already have a relationship,” she said.

“Tabletop Cabaret: Hedgepig Races” at the Brick Theater [579 Metropolitan Ave. between Lorimer Street and Union Avenue in Williamsburg, (718) 285–3863, www.bricktheater.com] July 19 at 7 pm, July 20 at 8 pm, July 29 at 8 pm, and August 2 at 7 pm. $18.

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