On Wednesday, December 12, 2001, the Flea Theater will be hosting a panel discussion entitled “Theater and Role-Playing Games” at 8:30 pm, following that evening’s performance of SHE KILLS MONSTERS at 7:00 pm.
Before Dungeons & Dragons, there were only six sorts of table-top games: pen and paper, board, card, dice, tile, and miniature games. Players of role-playing games, the seventh kind created in 1974, become both actors and audience in a private drama structured by dice and rules rather than a director and a script. Some have claimed that this kind of game constitutes a new form of performing art. What is certain is that role-playing games borrow elements from pre-existing performance arts – when a name for the phenomenon of games like Dungeons & Dragons was needed, some preferred “adventure gaming” because “role-playing game” was already taken by both an improv exercise and a group psychotherapy technique – and that many of the people who are currently shaping the direction of contemporary theater were themselves shaped by early exposure to role-playing games.
Four of these writers, theatrical artists, and game designers will be sharing their experience and perspectives on the panel:
Nicholas Fortugno is a game designer and educator. He teaches the Game Design and Interactive Narrative program at Parsons New School for Design, is the co-founder of the NYC game design studio Playmatics LLC, and has created multiple live-action role-playing games including A Measure for Marriage, modeled after a Shakespearean comedy and designed to facilitate a friend’s marriage proposal.
Matthew Gregory is a director, actor, costume designer, and game designer. He is the Artistic Director and a founding member of the Hive Theater Company, a faculty member at CUNY – Kingsborough, and the co-author of the Kitsunemori role-playing game supplement.
Robert Ross Parker is a director, writer, and actor. He is the co-Artistic Director of the Vampire Cowboys Theater Company, the editor of The Dramatist, the Journal of the Dramatists Guild of America, and the director of SHE KILLS MONSTERS.
The panel will be moderated by Tavis Allison, who founded Adventuring Parties LLC to promote public awareness of role-playing games in contemporary culture by creating events like this one.
The event will be free and open to the public, although purchasing tickets to the performance before the panel is highly recommended. SHE KILLS MONSTERS is a great play in its own right and a stellar example of one way role-playing games and theater can interact. Those who attend the show will be uniquely qualified to contribute to the Q&A session following the panel.
If you’ll be in NYC and can make it, let us know you’re attending at the event’s Facebook page; if not we’ll hopefully post video of the discussion!