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Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom

a Dark Comedy
by Jennifer Haley

COMPANY : Aurora Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Aurora Theatre [WEBSITE]
ID# 4239

SHOWING : February 16, 2012 - March 04, 2012



Director Daniel May
Video Designer Brad Bergeron
Son Type Greg Bosworth
Father Type Bryan Brendle
Mother Type Rachel Garner
Daughter Type Jaclyn Hofmann
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


Shooting (Virtual) Fish in a Barrel
by Dedalus
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
> Open Play with Old DOS-Style Game Commands

> Have four actors play a group of character types. It is not necessary for there to be any distinction between types – All adults are interchangeable as are all teenagers.

> Engage in easy-target marksmanship. Obsessed gamers and distraught parents are especially vulnerable.

> Blur the lines between virtual reality and reality reality. Then eliminate them.

> End play without going beyond Level One.

And that pretty much sums up my disappointment with this one-act, currently on the Aurora’s black box stage. This is a small play, slightly more than an hour in length, and pixel-thin in its ambitions and characterizations. We’re taken to a neighborhood where all the kids are obsessed with an on-line game called “Neighborhood 3,” in which their own neighborhood is overrun with zombies (who look like their parents) and where the game threatens to cross into the “real world.”

We’re introduced to “types” of characters – the “Father” type (all played by Bryan Bendle), the “Mother” type (Rachel Garner), the “Daughter” type (Jaclyn Hofmann) and the “Son” type (Greg Bosworth). All play various characters with little or no distinction (apart from Ms. Garner’s wigs), and none carry enough heft or depth for us to care two figs about what happens to them or what they do. While this approach may make for okay video-gaming, it makes for dry and, sometimes deadly-dull theatre.

Yes, it is intriguing sussing out the “rules” and smiling at the confusions of real-life and virtual-life, and a modicum of suspense is generated in the final couple of scenes, but, for me, it’s just not enough. Maybe if I liked on-line gaming a little better, or if I weren’t constantly annoyed by the on-stage video screens displaying the play for us (*), I might have found it a little more engaging. Maybe if the characters had shown a little initiative, or behaved a little against “type,” they may have been better company. Maybe if director Daniel May had chosen less awkward-to-sight-lines blocking, it wouldn’t have been so difficult to watch. And maybe if the obsessions and petulance on display hadn’t been such “easy targets,” or if the playwright had chosen to examine aspects about gaming other than those espoused by its critics, it would have progressed a little beyond Level One easy-targeting.

As it is, as it stands, watching “Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom” is a little too much like watching someone else play a video game. It is unengaging, unsurprising, and, in the final analysis, a bit unpleasant.

> Review Over.

-- Brad Rudy (BK

(*) Okay, there was one surprising moment – when the screens showed something OTHER than what we were seeing on stage. In one version, a father assaults a girl. In another, she assaults him. In the third, they hug and reconcile. The fact that it makes absolutely no difference to the story which version is on-stage and which two are on-screen is, perhaps, another problem with this script. The fact that we know nothing about these characters other than their “types” (maybe their names – I forget), is just video-game shallow.

Hmmm by dukevictory
The target audience for this production was 25ish. Not 65ish.
Bad Targetting by Dedalus
Maybe not -- the play seems to hit all the "talking points" of the over-60 crowd suspicious of computer gaming (and gamers).


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