Fresh off their three-day streaming spectacular GENRETHON earlier this month, Otherworld Theatre debuts Of Dice and Men – A Play about Dungeons and Dragons, a heartwarming comedy by Cameron McNary.
“Of Dice and Men is a heroic tale of friendship, growing up, and of course, Dungeons & Dragons!” says director James Martineau. “Sometimes growing up can even mean growing apart. Of Dice and Men explores this relatable issue through the lens of “nerd” culture in a way that some may have never considered,” he adds.
Of Dice and Men will premiere on Otherworld’s YouTube page on July 31st and will be available for FREE until August 14th, and then it will move to Otherworld’s Patreon page.
This virtual premiere is a remount of a 2014 staged production, but this version was designed specifically for YouTube and filmed using social distance precautions. “I really wanted Of Dice and Men to feel like we’re all back in the theater and not at home watching another movie so we planned on filming the show in as few takes as possible,” says Martineau. The cast rehearsed virtually until Tech Week, and “we didn’t let the performers go maskless until the final night, and that was only when they were on stage,” he explains.
Of Dice and Men follows Dungeons and Dragons dungeon master John Francis. Dwarves, Mages and Barbarians jump right off of their character sheets whenever he sits down at the gaming table of two frisky suburbanites, Linda and Brandon. John Francis’ best friends, sailor-mouthed John Alex and thoughtful jock Jason, bring roguish swagger and knightly nobility to the game. And the object of John Francis’s affection, the feisty Tara, provides all the Half Elven Double Princess backstory they could ever need. But when Jason enlists to go to Iraq and with the relationship with Tara going nowhere, it may be time for John Francis to hang up his twenty-sided dice and take a job on the other side of the country. However, John Francis is about to discover that leaving will prove tougher than the Tomb of Horrors.
Playwright Cameron McNary explains that this play was borne out of a time in his life when an onslaught of major milestones and events suddenly thrust him into adulthood, including his best friend deploying to Iraq. “The basic questions I was struggling with are the same ones John Francis is faced with in the play: How can one be an adult with these goofy, childish hobbies? How can playing a stupid little game about wizards and orcs and unicorns mean anything in the face of my best friend leaving for war? Why do I play at all really? This play is my answer to those questions.”
“This show is a great fit for this moment in time, since we are all dealing with isolation and quarantine,” says lighting designer Mike Wagner. “Dungeons and Dragons has always been a social activity, an opportunity for friends to come together and take part in collaborative storytelling. Thanks to modern technology, we’ve been able to eschew the need for physical presence to be able to get together and chuck some dice, allowing the game to go on.”
Of Dice And Men features a cast of professional actors including Mary-Kate Arnold (Tara/Alaya), Jacob Bates (Jason/Kester), Leo Michael LaCamera (John Francis/Dungeon Master), Scott Francis Longpre (John Alex/Spango), Nathan Randall Miller (Brandon/Throg), and Sarah Jean Tilford (Linda/Durak).
Of Dice and Men was written by Cameron McNary and is brought to life by director James Martineau, Ali Keirn (Stage Manager), Jeff Harris (Costume Designer), Mike Wagner (Lighting Designer), Sarah Putts (Sound Designer), Bayley Pokorny (Video Recording), and Tiffany Keane Schaefer (Video Editing).
Of Dice and Men is recommended for ages 14+ due to strong language, and viewer discretion is advised.
Check out the teaser trailer below, and reserve your free tickets for the July 31st premiere here.
Since its founding in 2012, Otherworld Theatre has been serving up science fiction and fantasy theatrical productions to the Chicago community, including multiple streaming options that are available now.
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