This GEEKend: 3 Theatre Shows for Chicago Gamers

When I was in college, the weekend started on Thursday- "Thirsty Thursday," as it were.  I rarely participated in this phenomenon; I was committed to studying until the "real" weekend (I promise, mom!)  However, the Chicago theatre circuit is trying to change my mind.

This week, three shows are popping up that geeks (especially gamers) will dig.  Two of them are on Thursday.  Thus, I'm writing early again!

Consider putting your butt in a theatre seat for any of these great productions.  ...Er, the rest of your body can go to the shows, too, not just your butt.



Of Dice and Men - I had heard of Otherworld Theatre Company some time ago. I've even plugged their events in this blog.  However, I wasn't inspired to see their shows in-person until, by random happenstance, one of their company members sold me my wedding dress.  Huh!

Otherworld's latest production, Of Dice and Men, opens this week.  I was lucky enough to attend the press preview.  The story follows six friends who love, laugh, and grow up together, all while playing Dungeons & Dragons.  Yes, there are cheesy (in a good way) speeches from elves and dwarves.  Yes, there's a trope-y will-they-won't-they romance.  However, the talented cast really acts the heck out of this script.

Choice moments include: the clever use of a TV screen to take us back to the 80s, a loving comparison of geekdom to sports, and effective commentary on the Iraq War.  The guest I brought to Of Dice and Men had never played a tabletop RPG in her life.  She loved it, and will be writing a full, "non-gamer" review for GGC soon.  We BOTH recommend the show.  (Thurs/Fri/Sat, 7:30 PM and Sun 3PM, March 6th-30th.  The Public House Theatre, 3914 N. Clark.$15.  Buy Tickets HERE.  Official Site * Facebook

Promo picture for Of Dice and Men by Otherworld Theatre



The Planetary Defense Force - I saw (and plugged!) this group during their last run.  Now, The Planetary Defense Force is back with an all-new show, Crisis on Earth.  You really have to see it to understand what it's like.  PDF shows are part improv, part game show, part video game, part LARP,  part dodgeball battle, part silly string party... that's a lot of parts.

Each night, the Planetary Defense Force chooses an audience member (or several) to play on stage.  Threats of evil are made, dodgeballs are thrown, and the bad guys are defeated... sometimes.  I can tell you that when I'm their guest villain on March 20th, evil shall prevail, and none shall be spared.  Bwahahahahahahaha!!

I mean... you didn't hear anything about that just now.  You should go see The Planetary Defense Force and forget I said anything.  (Thursdays starting March 6th, 8PM.  The Public House Theatre, 3914 N. Clark. $10.  Buy Tickets HERE.  Official Site * Facebook)

Promo picture for The Planetary Defense Force




Leveling Up - This show at Steppenwolf Theatre Company is already open.  However, this weekend's production will be particularly special.  Geek Bar Chicago is sponsoring a post-show talkback with Keisha Howard of Sugar Gamers.  Righteous!  Then, the cast of Leveling Up will be hanging out with fans at Weeds Tavern, 1555 N. Dayton.

Leveling Up is a reflection on real vs. virtual worlds.  A group of Las Vegas gamers deals with the drama of daily life- girlfriends, dead-end employment, etc.  Then, one gets a job flying drones over Iraq. For this character, violence that was formerly only digital becomes his career.

I haven't seen this show yet, but I've read a few reviews.  The story seems to affect people differently based on their individual familiarity with gaming.  I worry that a show comparing video game warfare to drone warfare could send a message of false causality.  That said, I'm sure the talkback with Keisha- who I KNOW to be a real-deal gamer- will add a heavy dose of reality to the play.  (Saturday, March 8th, 7:30 PM.  Steppenwolf Theatre Company, 1650 N. Halsted.  $20.  Buy Tickets HERE.  Official Site.)

Promo picture for LEVELING UP at Steppenwolf



Welp, time to sort through a big ol' pile of wedding RSVPs.  My best friend (the one who wrote THIS article) is coming to Chicago for a few days, so you likely won't hear from me on the blog.  I'm always on Twitter and Facebook, though, so follow me there!  My Twitter followers are currently discussing the scientific word for "a large group of spiders-" riveting stuff.

Cheers, geeks!


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