To Do in NYC: “The Wii Plays”

To Do in NYC: “The Wii Plays” (photo)

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I’ve written before about the unlikely bedfellows of theater and video games, and now a new production’s using the medium as a springboard for their ideas. “The Wii Plays” is a collection of mini-plays–each written by a different playwright–that all riff off the title of a game available on Nintendo’s hit console. Part of the fun of each little segment is waiting to see how the ethos of the namesake game makes its way in.

So, “Wii Tennis” starts with an awkward random meeting of ex-lovers at a coffee shop and escalates into a fervid volley of unresolved issues and recriminations, complete with toy rackets made for “Wii Sports” and tennis whites. Sega’s goofy, experimental bomb “Let’s Tap” somehow inspired a slice of quiet, suburban teen melodrama and the expletive-laden shenanigans of “Barbie as the Island Princess” infuse counterculture orneriness into Ken and Barbie. And game enthusiasts will giggle at two of the industry’s biggest mascots as a pair of egotistical rivals in “Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games.” “Why don’t you ever lose?!,” Sonic asks Mario. Why indeed? Spoken like a character whose glory days are long behind him.

02032011_the_Wii_Plays_3.jpg A few lines from the various works show some savvy as to some of the gripes people have had with the Wii, like “Doesn’t it bother you that it’s all easy?” in the “All Star Cheer Squad” vignette. Comments to the effect that the Wii’s for old people also get made. The interpersonal tensions wrap around some heavy themes, too: divorce, ennui and self-doubt all show up even in the midst of aliens and monsters talking trash about bowling. The assembled plays get interwoven with visuals and sound effects from each of the games, bookended by interstitial musical interludes from indie rock band Super Mirage. The performers embody their multiple roles with aplomb and altogether, 12 pieces make for an enjoyable and occasionally surprising night out. “The Wii Plays” is running at the Ars Nova theater in Manhattan until February 15th.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”

Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”

But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.


It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

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