World of Warcraft Takes Center Stage in this Romantic Comedy
In the romantic comedy IN LOVE AND WARCRAFT, college senior and hard-core World of Warcraft (WoW) player Evie Malone is at the top of her game - literally. Her strategies and game play have allowed her to become commander of the game's top-ranked guild. But are her in-game skills up to task when love comes calling IRL? That's "in real life" for your non-gamers.
Launched by Blizzard Entertainment in November of 2004, World of Warcraft (WoW) is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game or MMORPG. Players customize a character to adventure throughout a digital world that contains elements from fantasy, steampunk, and science fiction. Inside the game, players complete quests to advance their character's level which in turn opens new areas of play and access to more abilities and better equipment. Players can also interact and team up with other players all over the world. With more than a hundred million registered accounts by 2016, WoW is the most popular MMORPG by player count. To date, the video game franchise has grossed more than $9 billion in revenue.
Katie Mitchell, a native of Norwood, takes on the role of Evie Malone. Mitchell attended St. Ursula Academy then received her Theatre degree from Xavier University, followed by a year in the Professional Acting Apprenticeship program at Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati. Prior to being cast in this role, her only gaming experience was in high school. However, that foray into the digital world was motivated more to impress a boy she was crushing on than any real interest. Since being cast as Evie, Mitchell has bonded with cast mate and fellow lead Rhys Boatwright by adventuring almost daily together in the World of Warcraft.
When asked to describe the difference between herself and her character, Mitchell shares, "Evie is alot more left brained than I personally am. She is a person who is very strategically based with a set of guidelines and rules that take her through her real and virtual lives. She thinks everything in life has strategy to it. It is completely opposite for me in that I'm very idealistic; I can only work when things come up and I can't plan for it." Ironically the skill-set that makes Evie such a success in many ways leaves her ill-prepared for an unplanned affair of the heart.
IN LOVE AND WARCRAFT is directed by Maggie Perrino, who is approaching her fourth anniversary as The Carnegie's Theatre Director. With the eleventh hour loss of her chosen director, her staff encouraged her to step into that role. While not directly a gamer herself, her 16 year relationship/marriage to Jason, “a lifelong extreme gamer,” has led to countless hours serving as his couch-side adventuring companion (or from another point of view, as the captain to his piloting) which makes her extremely familiar with the digital word.
Perrino promises that in depth gaming knowledge is not required for the audience to enjoy the show: "Anyone who has any sense of video games, even if you don't play specifically World of Warcraft, there's lots to latch onto [in the story]." Although she has directed plays in the past, in her time at The Carnegie she has exclusively directed and/or choreographed musicals. IN LOVE AND WARCRAFT has allowed her to rediscover her love for plays, "We all have those things where we feel really in control in one space; where we feel comfortable and confident; and learning to apply that to other places is kind of the crux of what that show is about in a broader sense. Finding your power and bringing it into other spaces of your life." She hopes audiences old and new will join them on this adventure.
Performances of the IN LOVE AND WARCRAFT run Friday-Sunday, through Nov. 18 at The Carnegie. All performances are at 7:30 p.m. except the Sunday matinees at 3 p.m. Advisory: IN LOVE AND WARCRAFT contains adult themes and explicit language.
For tickets or more information visit www.thecarnegie.com/theatre or call the box office at 859.957.1940.
Written by Rob Bucher, RCN contributor
Photo by Mikki Schaffner (provided)