Requisition of Doom
Run-for-your-life terrifyingly surreal
|Strawdog Theatre presents|
|Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom|
Review by Katy Walsh
Risk is a board game of world domination. My family used to play it until my mom banned it. It always started out good natured but then alliances formed and dissolved. War broke out on the board and in the room. At some point, we lost sight of reality as we killed to win.
Strawdog Theatre opens its 25th season with Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom. Madison, Michaela, Chelsea, Blake, Ryan, Tyler and Jared play in the same neighborhood. Literally they live in the same subdivision. But they live virtually in the same video game. The kids are addicted to Neighborhood 3, a zombie killing thriller. It is a massive multiplayer online roleplaying game. The fantasy technology allows them to personalize the game with their own homes. IRL (In Real Life), the parents are noticing peculiar behavior of their children. They want to unplug the game – but what’s real and what’s make-believe? And who’s that at the door? Just in time for Halloween, Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom is run-for-your-life terrifyingly surreal.
Playwright Jennifer Haley has penned a fascinating reality. The teenager-parent, neighbor-neighbor, kid-video dynamics are dead on. The underlying messages of addiction and communication are present. But overall, this show is a thriller! And Joanie Schultz directs it with equal parts of intensity and humor. It has all the terror and frivolity of any of the “Scary Movie” franchise. Mike Dailey (dad), Leah Karpel (daughter), Kendra Thulin (mom), and Sam Hubbard (son) morph into all the people in the neighborhood. The Fab Four do a terrific job creating multiple, distinct personas. In particular, and in back-to-back scenes, Thulin and Hubbard climax the hilarity and the horror. Thulin perfectly plays two desperate mothers trying to understand the game situation. Hubbard plays the same kid with survivalist camaraderie to someone else’s mother and icy cruelty to his own mother. Disturbingly powerful!
Scenic Designer Mike Mroch and Media Designer Kyle Hamman work together to create the virtual reality. Nine flatscreen televisions are the focal point on stage. Initially, each screen features a different suburban house. Throughout the show, Hamman keeps us in the game with intriguing film clips matching the zombie narration. In the final scene, it’s Mroch versus Hamman in a match up. Do we watch the 3-D scene or the video version? This culmination is brilliant!
I’m addicted to Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom. I want to play again.
Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom continues through November 10th at Strawdog Theatre, 3829 N. Broadway (map), with performances Thursdays-Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays 4pm. Tickets are $28, and are available by phone (866-811-4111) or online through OvationTix.com (check for half-price tickets at Goldstar.com). More information at Strawdog.org. (Running time: 70 minutes, no intermission)
Photos by Chris Ocken
behind the scenes
Joanie Schultz (director); Mike Mroch* (set); Jordan Kardasz* (lighting); Joanna Melville* (costumes); Kyle Hamman* (projections design), Brandon Bruce* (fight choreography); Lindsey Miller (stage manager); Patrick Fries (production manager); Thomas Dixon (sound design); Mary O’Dowd (props), Matt Buettner (tech director); Dan Laushman (master electrician); Chris Ocken (photos)
* denotes Strawdog company member