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Tech expertise and artistic innovation come together for an online theatrical experience with the Civilians’ digital premiere production of “Black Feminist Video Game” by Darrel Alejandro Holnes, presented by Center Theatre Group’s Digital Stage.
Developed in the Civilians’ R&D Group, where Holnes is a former member, “Black Feminist Video Game” is directed by Victoria Collado and features an original video game created by Ché Rose and Jocelyn Short of Cookout Games. Six live performances of “Black Feminist Video Game” started streaming on April 27 through Sunday, May 2. On-demand viewing of a captured performance will be available from May 2 at 9 p.m. through May 9 at 8:59 pm. Tickets, priced at $10, can be purchased at CTGLA.org/blackfeministvideogame.
“Black Feminist Video Game” centers on Jonas, a biracial teenager with autism. Jonas broadcasts all aspects of his life online, including a disastrous first date with his crush, Nicole. Desperate to regain her affections, he dusts off a long-ignored gift from his mother – a classic 2D “Black feminist video game” – hopeful that the game will grant him the key to winning Nicole back. But Jonas soon discovers that, with only the Game Master and his friend, Sabine, to guide him, he must confront his own misperceptions of the women in his real life, or risk losing not only the game but also his first chance at love.
In this mashup of live performance, video game design and online interaction, Jonas and Sabine stream their play, video-chat with each other and find their path through the game together. Along the way, at-home viewers will help (or hinder) their progress by responding in real time to the choices they make.
“I think of the video game space as a place of people’s wildest imaginations,” Holnes said. “Gaming has taught me that I am not the narrative projected onto me, I am the free will I exercise; I am how I play the game not the character I am assigned. ‘Black Feminist Video Game’ asks questions about love on the spectrum, how we can all be better allies and why Black feminism can set us all free.”
The cast of “Black Feminist Video Game” includes Christon Andell as Jonas, Kyla Jeanne Butts as Sabine, Starr Kirkland as Nicole, Holnes as DJ/Hype Person and other voices, Constance Fields as Mother, Phillip Patrick Wright as Mark, Michael Diamond as Hans, Mia Anderson as Marguerite and Brandiss LaShai Seward as Audre Lorde.
The Civilians are working with members of the autistic community, as well as Neurodivergent members within the company of the show, in the development of “Black Feminist Video Game.” For detailed accessibility information visit thecivilians.org. The show is intended for audiences ages 16 and up.
For information, visit centertheatregroup.org.
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