It turns out that the boy I had to talk into attending live theatre with me last Spring enjoys live theatre. Even though the second show we attended, Your Brother. Remember?, was more of a miss, he still agreed that we should see nOOb, a production put on by Y Stage at Vertigo Theatre.
Inspired by the true story of Brandon Crisp, nOOb explores the behavior of a boy who is addicted to playing his xBox, running away from home when his parents confiscate the console, leading to a turn of events that cost him his life. A one-man show, the audience is taken on a journey through a complex story-line that switches between the events that happen in real life and the events that take place amongst the on-line gaming community showcasing the complications that blur one's reality.
The play is thought-provoking, asking the audience to determine what is the difference between an on-line community that "has [one's] back" and the tangible community of school and sports. Why does one play video games and where is that line that changes a person from merely entertaining one's self to addiction? And in this era of social networking, do we need to adjust our thoughts about a gaming community? Is on-line gaming any different than the FaceBook, Pinterest or Blogger community?
After the show, there was a panel discussion that allowed the audience to voice some of the thoughts and questions that arose through the viewing. Valid points that really struck myself was the idea that a kid who eats, breathes and plays sports the same way that a kid who devotes energy to a video game is not cast in the same social light. We see those athletes as dedicated,motivated go-getters. Gamers are often portrayed in a negative light as nerds who have no social skills, although they are staying up until 3 a.m. socializing as they problem solve to complete the next mission and get to the next level. A person who is absorbed in a novel can hide away for up to 6 hours (if not more) lost in a fictional world and is not treated as though they are wasting brain cells the way a gamer is. This all said, I do agree that anybody, a gamer, an athlete, a bookworm, an artist, etc., needs balance in his or her life.
We ended up seeing the final show, but if there is a chance that you are able to catch this in your city or at a later date, I highly recommend. If only for the stimulating conversation it sparked between Jason and I after. And like I mentioned, this has increased Jason's desire to attend more live theatre. Next up, a hip hop musical!