Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Fringe Review: The Role Play

Who: Apothecary Theatre
What: The Role Play
Length: 90 minutes
Where: Bring Your Own Virtual Venue (accessible through Discord)
When: July 21-31 as part of the Hamilton Fringe Festival
Tickets: $5 – $20 + fees at https://boxoffice.hftco.ca/event/866:660/

Storytelling can take on a wide variety of forms. We all know the classics: spoken word, books, film, radio. But it’s important to recognize lesser-known forms of storytelling as well. The Role Play does exactly that, examining both the idea of a story and the act of writing it through the medium of Dungeons and Dragons.

The show follows the players and game master of a Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) campaign, both in the game itself and in their lives outside of it. The lines between the two are often blurry, and at many points the players’ real lives are depicted in the form of a D&D game. The players and their characters reflect each other in many ways, and the show demonstrates that well.

What’s most interesting about The Role Play is the format in which it’s presented. The whole show takes place on a Discord chatroom server, with audience members joining a video call as non-participants to watch it unfold. It’s a fascinating take on a virtual fringe venue, taking full advantage of the virtual format and incorporating it into the performance.

The show isn’t difficult to access; there are clear instructions provided when you join the server, and you don’t need to have a Discord account to do so. Not being technologically savvy isn’t an obstacle at all. However, for someone who’s more familiar with these things, the show is an impressively spot-on depiction of a group of friends chatting on Discord. As someone who uses Discord every day, it’s extremely refreshing to see something so relatable in the Fringe. For me, this ties back to the show’s themes of stories and writing, in that it gives value to the stories of people with my own age and interests. I think we need much more of that in the world of theatre, and I’m proud to recommend this show as an example of what we should be looking for.

Arthur Bullock
Arthur Bullock
Arthur Bullock is a graduate of McMaster University, Mohawk College and Algonquin College. He's spent nearly all his life in Hamilton, and has been reviewing plays at the Fringe since 2015. He has a passion for writing of all kinds, and loves to combine that with a longtime interest in local theatre.

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