For most people, the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons does not summon images of people who commit armed robbery. Yet Lynn Rosen’s new play, Goldor $ Mythyka: A Hero is Born, is based on the case of Roger Dillon and Nicole Boyd, “a nice young couple enamored of fantasy role-playing games,” who an armored car of $7.4 million dollars. This is the second play to be produced by the New Georges special initiative known as The Germ Project, which basically asked writers to make plays of “scope and imagination.” G$M certainly qualifies, and the creative visual style of the play makes for an exciting audience experience of an odd story to be sure. Upon entering the New Ohio Theatre, the DJ -- who will be our dungeon master on this journey -- is already on stage spinning some tracks. Bobby Moreno’s DJ is not a bad concept, but it is unfortunate that this is the way that the piece begins, as it is the weakest aspect of the structure in a lot of ways. Director and co-developer Shana Gold seems unsure of what to do with this figure, a DJ/rapper who seems out of place in the world of the play.
Luckily, the other characters, including our “heroes,” Garrett Neergaard’s Bart/Goldor and Jenny Seastone Stern’s Holly/Mythyka, are particularly well cast and utilized. We watch as these two overlooked individuals come alive through the world of Dungeons & Dragons, and their mutual passion for the game becomes a passion for each other. This eventually culminates in their idea of robbing the money transport company for which they both work. The play also projects into the future to imagine what might become of this “Goth Bonnie and Clyde” and their son.
In the midst of this, our dungeon master DJ cuts, spins, and mixes the stories together with the media elements to create a story that not only resembles D&D, but also mimics the experience of being on the internet. I believe that Moreno’s DJ is supposed to invite us into the play, but his persona seemed forced in a way none of the other characters did.
The characters move with ease through the various locations created on Nick Francone’s minimalistic set, which brings to mind a basement, though it also transforms into homes, restaurants, and other places through various moving set pieces. Lenore Doxsee’s lighting design and Tristan Raines’s costume design also continue this aspect of less-is-more conceptualization, and though there are a lot of design elements in the show, they never seem overwhelming.
The show's multimedia structure is impressive; there is an interesting device of projection and live action that reminds me of having many windows open on a single screen at the same time. This engaged approach to the media, designed by Piama Habibullah and Jared Mezzochi, is closely linked to the sound design by Shane Rettig, both of which add to this idea of making the Internet experience a theatrical one. It is a very successful and interesting concept.
Of course, like any new piece, there are a few aspects of this piece that need a bit more attention. Melissa Riker’s choreography was interesting for actors like Stern who clearly have had movement training. Unfortunately, when dealing with actors who look like they can play D&D and who sit in front of their computers a lot, it is quite a challenge to find people who can move gracefully. This made the dance moments less successful than they could have been.
I also had a few questions about the play in general. The most important is this: what are we supposed to think of our heroes? The play vacillates between casting them as glorious underdogs who get revenge and the frightening loners who spend too much time in a fantasy world and eventually snap. I think it’s great that the play doesn’t shirk this complicated balance, but if you’re looking for a play with easy answers, this isn’t it. I do think that this is a very creative piece and one worth watching, especially if you have any knowledge of D&D, LARP, or any other kind of role-playing game. As the Federal Agent says at one point in the show, “I want a cool fist pump,” and if that describes you, then this is one not to miss.
Photo: Garrett Neergaard Jenny Seastone Stern and Bobby Moreno Photo Credit: Jim-Baldassare