What happens when videogames get in the way of real life? A new Fringe Festival play explores the divide, reports SCOTT KARA
is about saving mankind and killing at any cost. Talk to any avid gamer about playing the world's most popular videogame and they will tell you it's also an incredible bonding experience among mates - but often, that comes at a cost.
"Girls generally aren't big gamers and so there's always that thing about spending time with both," says Fasitua Amosa, a man of many talents including acting, directing, and of course, gaming.
"You can't do both at the same time, unless your girlfriend likes watching you play, and that's never going to happen," he smiles.
"So it does put a strain on some relationships but it's all about how you handle it: 'I'll just spend a day with the box and a day, or half a day, with you'."
He's joking, of course. Or is he?
It is this gamers' conundrum that is addressed in the play
. The play - which brings together the unusual, some might say inexplicable, combination of gaming and theatre - stars actors Jason Fitch, Dave Van Horn and Damien Avery as hardcore
players and friends, Glen, Liam and Donnie.
, directed by Amosa, it's more than boy-girl relationships that are tested.
Amosa and his cast members are friends and avid gamers in real life. At one stage during their long-time obsession they heard it was possible to have 16 people playing
at once so they hooked up 16 Xbox consoles and 16 televisions and went at it.
"It was carnage," remembers Amosa, "and too many people, but it was so funny because once you got with your team you really wanted to go out there and ..."
He doesn't say it but presumably he means "kill".
The plays origins come from this group's "escapades" playing the game, stints of which could last up to 12 hours. The initial story came from a friend who produced it as part of a writing course at Unitec in 2004.
"We'd go round to his house, hook up the Xboxes, everyone would have their own TV in their own room and there'd be just like this never-ending game," says Amosa. "We'd play all night but Dave [Van Horn] would always have this thing going on where he would say, 'I've got to go and hang out with my girlfriend'. So the story is crafted around the possible fall-out of what happens if a clan splits up because of love."
Amosa and Van Horn got the go-ahead to adapt the script and extended it to a 45-minute piece.
premiered at last year's Armageddon Expo - where it was dubbed "the
play" by those who saw it.
"A lot of these people had never seen live theatre, especially theatre that they knew about," says Amosa, "because theatre to a lot of people is Shakespeare and all this old stuff. This was their first live theatre experience that meant something to them rather than being forced to study Henry V at school."
Fitch is probably the biggest gamer of the lot and has his own tragic tale of Shakespearean-sized proportions to tell when it comes to gaming.
"I'm more of a PC gamer. I do the works," he admits. "I do the MMOs - the massive multi-player online games. Yeah. That's kind of the worst of the worst," he laughs.
Amosa is more of a console gamer: "My family came through Nintendo, so I never got into the sorts of games Jason is into ..."
" ... which is a good thing," says Fitch.
is about gaming obsession, it also has a general appeal.
"Everyone's got an obsession," says Fitch. "People can take the story and the situation and apply it to whatever it is they are into ... the fact we're all geeks playing in a flat is kind of irrelevant really, it could be rugby players, cyclists, and what happens when a girl comes into the mix."
Says Amosa: "Just because you're a gamer doesn't mean that you're a freak, and if you are a freak it doesn't necessarily mean that's a bad thing. It's about accepting what you are and not being ashamed of it."
Gestalt, where gaming and theatre meet
Where & when:
Basement Theatre, March 16-18.