Tech expertise and artistic innovation come together for a groundbreaking online theatrical experience as The Civilians’ digital premiere production of “Black Feminist Video Game” by Darrel Alejandro Holnesis 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” will stream at 5 PM from Tuesday, April 27 through Sunday, May 2. On-demand viewing of a captured performance will be available from May 2 at 9 pm through May 9, 2021, at 8:59 pm. All times Pacific. Tickets, priced at $10, can be purchased at CTGLA.org/BlackFeministVideoGame.
Following close on the heels of The Civilians’ innovative smash hit “Russian Troll Farm,” which was heralded by The New York Times as one of the best shows of 2020, “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,” said Holnes. “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.”
“I’m so grateful to have witnessed and supported the development of ‘Black Feminist Video Game’ through The Civilians’ R&D Group over the past year,” said The Civilians’ Artistic Director Steve Cosson. “The absence of live theatre has been acutely felt during the pandemic, so it is particularly heartening to see artists like Darrel Alejandro Holnes, Victoria Collado and the rest of the ‘Black Feminist Video Game’ team imagine this new theatrical space to share a different kind of live experience for audiences.”
The cast of “Black Feminist Video Game” includes Christon Andell as Jonas, Kyla Jeanne Butts as Sabine, Starr Kirkland as Nicole, Darrel Alejandro 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 creative team of “Black Feminist Video Game” includes producer Ilana Becker, media streaming designer & programmer Julia Frey, video co-programmer/engineer Jeremy Allen, video designer & editor Erin Sullivan, sound designer Twi McCallum, production design consultant Anna Driftmier, neurodiversity consultant Cortland Nesley and consulting film producer Kiran Chitanvis.
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 please visit www.thecivilians.org. The show is intended for audiences ages 16 and up.
The digital premiere of “Black Feminist Video Game” is a national collaboration with presenters 59E59 Theaters’ Plays in Place program, Center Theatre Group, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and co-commissioner Williams Center for the Arts, Lafayette College.
Center Theatre Group’s Digital Stage is presented by American Express. As presenting sponsor of The Digital Stage, American Express Card Members enjoy special opportunities on the Digital Stage, including: presales and early access for limited-release premium events, invitations to private pre- or post-show meet and greets and access to exclusive content curated especially for Card Members.