Spine: ‘In Love and Warcraft’ and all the Mythologies in Between

In the hit TV sitcom, The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon, Howard, Leonard, and Rajesh regularly play the on-line fantasy role playing game World of Warcraft. They also like to play dress up in the real world, as heroic fantasy characters with big swords and special powers.

Anu Yadav (Evie) and Dani Stoller (Kitty). Photo by Teresa Wood.
Anu Yadav (Evie) and Dani Stoller (Kitty). Photo by Teresa Wood.

In one episode the actress and waitress Penny becomes addicted to the game herself, an acute response to her many failures in life, in love, and in acting.

In No Rules Theatre Company’s production of Madhuri Shekar’s In Love and Warcraft, now playing at Signature Theatre’s Ark, Evie (Anu Yadav) like Sheldon is an equally heady, English major; she also has her own on-line crew of Warcraft warriors waging endless war against the Burning Legion.

Unlike Sheldon, however, Evie has a fatal kryptonite heart (yes, I know that’s an old school reference). She loves Love, the ideal of it, the Plutonian image of that quivering throb and emotional rush, not projected on a cave wall, but the real living idea of love about which we only see the shadowed reality of imperfectness.

The results are pure hilariousness, as Shekar’s In Love and Warcraft with its vibrantly ludicrous, enjoyable delight will burst you with laughter.

For our review of the production, click here.

As the story starts, Evie’s lover is a fellow warrior and leader of her Guild, Ryan (David Johnson). She has never met this lover in a non-quantum universe where Elves and Monks don’t rule over dark matter.  She prefers the quantifiable world of virtual simulation.

Such simulation lies at the essence of our 21st Century world it seems; such is our new mythology; such is our new religion; such is our new escape from the complexities of the human condition made only more difficult by the force called Love.

And In Love and Warcraft is fun, and funnier, and funniest most of all in its most farcical moments of pure hormones and open-faced sex-speak. This is the stuff that lust is made for.

If its true that men think about sex every seven seconds, then the men in Shekar’s In Love and Warcraft beat the odds, as they rap about a sexy butt at what must be every 4.5 seconds. But the women in this university world come in at a roaring 3.3 seconds with one young lady, Evie’s roommate Kitty (Dani Stoller) literally racing in hip-pounding exuberance. Even as a bio-major it’s hard imagining how she would ever get anything done other than the boy next door.

The dramatic action that drives this play is, however, not the lust Kitty and the various men and women that we meet (the men played by Jamie Smithson, the women by Kaitlin Raine Kemp), but its libidinal opposite.

Evie it seems is not of this earth; she has descended perhaps from the planet Azeroth of Warcraft. There, the people dress up as sexy avatars and are ready to romp, but there the proverbial in-out does not exist but in linguistic form, and believe me there that form has all the visual disguises and verve of a Freudian herd.

In other words, Evie is into language; she runs a relationship mending business and her expertise is the love letter, Facebook post, or email. And she approaches her profession of fixer with spunky detachment.

Until she meets a new client named Raul (AJ Melendez). Raul’s sweetness is not just all muscle; he’s also tender as a bear cub; and soon poor Evie flutters like a twitterpated Bambi. Yet, cosmically she remains as stoic as Epictetus himself.

Evie’s journey into the Realm of Flesh and Blood has so many twists and turns that you’re left on the edge of your seat awaiting the next whiplash. Not only will Evie discover the wonders of the orgasm on her first trip onto the gynecologist’s table, but later, as she is bursting with sexual confusions, she will be tempted into the Wonders of the Coital not by a satanic snake but by a good Christian woman about to make her own plunge into the carnal bed, vis-á-vis as wife married to husband.

When Evie then enters dressed like a warrior princess ready to rock Raul’s world, the synthesis between mythologies is complete. Salvation does exist in this 21st century virtuality, but it comes in role-playing scenarios different than crucifixions and rustic mangers.  Here, hero archetypes venture to the graveyard to reconcile and make whole the ones they care most deeply about.

Zany doesn’t come close to describing this romantic evening of comedy on Viagra–and yes, a new study has shown that Viagra works on women as well as men.

In Love and Warcraft is a hip, ripe show perfect for a whole new generation of theatre-goers. No, it is not going to make you rethink the nature of the universe or re-configure your hard drive with a whole new set of life goals, but this show will remind everyone that the power of life resides not in its ecstasies but in its intimacies.

The ability for two people to sit together in quiet abandon and share, without expectations, their lives.

Running Time: One hour and 45 minutes, without intermission.

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In Love and Warcraft plays through January 25, 2015 at No Rules Theatre Company performing at Signature Theatre – 4200 Campbell Avenue, in Arlington, VA. For tickets, call the box office at (703) 820-9771, or purchase them online.

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Robert Michael Oliver
Poet, Performer, Theatre Artist, Playwright, Educator, Writer--Robert Michael Oliver, Ph.D., has been involved in the DC arts scene since the 1980s, when he co-founded The Sanctuary Theatre in the old sanctuary of Calvary United Methodist Church. Since those fierce days in Columbia Heights, he has earned his doctorate in theatre from University of Maryland, raised two wonderful children, and seen more theatre as a reviewer over the last two years than he saw in the previous thirty. He now co-directs, along with his wife Elizabeth Bruce, the Sanctuary's Performing Knowledge Project, which organizes a host of writing and performance workshops, plus Mementos: Poetry and Performance for Seniors, a yearly literature-in-performance Fringe Festival show, as well as Performetry--a monthly poetry and prose performance event at DC's community arts & culture center BloomBars.