Last week, Pomona College's Allen Theater showcased the romantic comedy Love and Warcraft, an exploration of the sexual journeys of a group of college students.
Written by Madhuri Shekar, the play featured video-game World of Warcraft guru college senior Evie (KC Read-Fisher SC ‘17) who writes love letters, romantic Facebook posts, and phone-call scripts for people with screwed-up love lives. She rules the Warcraft guild with her old online boyfriend (Jeff Friedman PO ‘19) and can fix any relationship in the physical world — so long as no person in it is her.
When Evie tells best friend Kitty (Morgan Berlin PO ’19) that she doesn't want physical intimacy, Kitty responds that Evie must have herpes to have such a low libido. Meanwhile, Evie and her real-life boyfriend Raul (Colin McCalla PO ’20) try to maneuver their relationship, with Raul promising to stop asking for sex and Evie agreeing to stop playing Warcraft.
The playwright attended the show on Saturday night.
She said the performance “was wonderful” and that she wanted to write a story about the pressure that college places on people to be a certain way or be physically intimate before they’re ready.
“The woman [in the play] doesn’t really know,” director Carolyn Ratteray said. “Let’s just have a story that says 'can I have the time to figure it out on my own.'”
Ratteray said that she chose the play because it talked about sexuality and the things people use to connect with each other in a way that it isn’t usually talked about.
“I was excited that it centered a college woman as a gamer [and that] it centered around her sexual journey. I feel like on college campuses that’s not talked about enough,” Ratteray said.
Jack Hanley PO ‘18 said the play was “funny” and “great.” Evie often stopped and stared at Raul in pure admiration, sending the audience into fits of laugher at her bumbling awkward attempts to then keep up in conversation with him.
The play also starred Daniel Rivera PO ’17 and Winnie Stack PZ ’18, who played a variety of characters and switched from costume to costume. They included a gamer who repeated the lines he received from Evie over a Bluetooth to his girlfriend before finally screaming, “Please take me back, my spicy chai latte”; a couple who “shush” Raul and Evie’s discussion of their sex lives in a movie theatre; and a hairdresser who casually describes a sexual exploit that left her “washing blood off [herself] the whole weekend”.
Stack said that “genuine characters and heart” were always in the comedy. “We approached every scene, even if they were comedic scenes, with trying to find the truth in the scene, not doing it just for laughs.”
Rivera said that there “was so much that went into” the whole process. “Actors can make it seem really easy, but there are props people and make-up people, and costumes and it was so much fun to see how talented everyone was” and how it all came together.
According to Abdullah Shahid PO ‘19, an audience member, the play made you root for Evie.
Stack said that her favorite story within the play was the relationship between Raul and Evie. “They’re both trying to connect and they just have different ways of doing it. I thought it was really beautiful that in the end they come together” by accepting each other’s worlds, she said.
Evie and Raul fell apart in the play, but in the end, the characters all converged in the Warcraft universe, dressing in the game's elaborate, shiny costumes and strutting about the stage with baby steps in straight robotic lines as the online boyfriend accused Raul of being an “ass-burger” and “firecracker.” Raul meets Evie as a Warcraft character, an enchantress in a tiny skirt and painted legs, and screams “yes” when she asks if women’s clothes make him feel good. She then told him that her video-game character is “slash kissing you, slash undressing you.”
In the real world, Raul and Evie decided to try again. Evie often said things that could be evidence of her asexuality. Even though the end suggests that she may not be, the director’s note at the beginning of the printed program said that “the play provides a welcome platform for increasing awareness around that orientation.”
Shahid said that he liked the end. “They’re just going on a date again. It doesn’t have to work. I personally don’t think they’ll be able to connect, but they’re exploring the potential and I liked the fact that it ends hopefully.”