A new off-Broadway production centers around an unusual theme: a romantic triangle involving a pair of gamer pals.
Today’s New York Times offers a lukewarm review of When in Disgrace (Haply I Think on Thee). The play revolves around the relationship between teen gamers Ryan and Ben, as well as Caroline, who used to be Ryan’s girl but now is with Ben.
Unfortunately, the play appears to evoke the common cultural imagery of gamers as latent powderkegs. From the NYT review:
The play traces Ryan’s spiral into homicidal dementia over Ben’s “betrayal…”
The depiction of Ryan and Ben’s video-game confrontations also overamplifies the conflict. As the boys duel on a sofa, life-size silhouettes battle behind a scrim to twofold effect: thudding as a metaphor for character dynamics, impressive as a glimpse into the role of ultraviolent fantasy in the life of many adolescents. The production is well served by audio snatches of the bands System of a Down and Linkin Park, among others…
As the outcast [Ryan] has the juiciest role; he savors his malevolence, maybe too visibly… “When in Disgrace (Haply I Think on Thee)” may falter in its grand designs, but there is something vital in its exploration of generational identity…
A synopsis on Theatermania reports that the production is based on a true story:
Inspired by a true story, When in Disgrace (Haply I Think on Thee) weaves a tale of shattered hope and personal destruction as three close friends are torn apart by jealousy, neglect, guilt, and ultimately, love. Combining rock music, iambic verse, and video games, When In Disgrace explores what leads youngsters to extreme acts of violence, and the eerie similarity between teenage melodrama and classical drama.