Presented by Company One
by Qui Nguyen
Directed by Shira Milikowsky
Review by Noelani Kamelamela
(Boston) The Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company at Center Stage, NY has been centered around making theatre that engages an audience of like-minded people. Mainly popular entertainment, most productions incorporate a large amount of stage combat as well as clever use of props and costumes. Company One brings indie sensibilities to a production that fans the heart flames of con-going die-hard gamers (both LARP and video) as well as n00bs for an overall shiny audience experience.
Set in Ohio in the 90s, Agnes, an English teacher at a high school, has a teenaged sister who dies in a car accident and leaves behind a module. She’s compelled to find a DM to help her play it in a last effort to grieve for her sister. The script contains material audiences should be familiar with if they can remember the sounds and trends of the era. As if! The average person will totally understand the 90s references. This is still fairly adult material with mentions of sexuality and some brutal language, despite the banging nostalgia.
The set contained modular pieces and employed clever use of space and levels to embiggen a fairly small stage. Reduced size of the audience controlled sightlines to allow for the element of surprise. In a show with so much fighting and unique settings, the stylin’ props, fly costumes and super sweet puppets were essential for the plot. The ensemble’s willingness to go with whatever was happening onstage in the moment was all that and a bag of chips.
This is the kind of show that gives you the warm fuzzies. Its jokey, and a litle bit hokey and pokey in terms of style and action in some places, but well-intentioned. Kind of like the 90s. Company One will continue its blasting into the past in July with Idris Goodwin’s How We Got On, set in the late eighties.