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The play’s the play as gaming and theater are merged at this festival • Brooklyn Paper

The play’s the play as gaming and theater are merged at this festival

Playwright John DeVore isn’t being rude with his iPhone on stage. He’s participating in “Game Play,” a festival devoted to works inspired by video games and other technologies, kicking off at The Brick in Williamsburg on June 8. So text away.
Photo by Michael Gardner

This year’s Game Play Festival, which features theatrical works that draw inspiration from the world of video gaming, offers as many different types of shows as there are consoles.

“We have the most diverse selection of acts this year,” said Chris Chappell, producer of the Brick Theater’s three-year-old festival. “The concept’s pretty simple — combining performance and gaming — but there are so many different ways that it can manifest itself.”

Chappell’s own theater company, Sneaky Snake Productions, is adding to the mix with “Brainexplode!,” a live-action, interactive adventure game where audience members navigate a character, whose brain has been wired to explode in one hour, through various obstacles and help prevent his timed doom.

In more live-action game play, “Modal Kombat” features a game of Tetris, where the controllers are guitars, and the audience yells out each move to the players. It was a hit at last year’s festival.

“You wouldn’t really see it anywhere else,” said Chappell.

For a more straightforward theatrical experience, playwright John DeVore presents “Son of Pong,” featuring stories about growing up with a video game junkie father.

As usual at The Brick, opening night on July 8 consists of a free cabaret — a preview of all the shows, so you can decide which ones are worth putting a quarter in the slot for.

And it wouldn’t be a proper video game festival without a chiptune dance party (July 16), where you can move to vintage video-game inspired chiptune music, with playable video games from the 1980s and ‘90s on hand for some truly old-school fun, consoles included.

Game Play Festival at the Brick [575 Metropolitan Ave. between Union Avenue and Lorimer Street in Williamsburg, (718) 907-6189], July 9-31. Tickets $15 (opening night cabaret on July 8 is free). For info, visit www.bricktheater.com.

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