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Roleplay = Theatre = PHAMALY?

We’re going to take a small step away from strictly focusing on World of Warcraft for a moment here and talk instead about a portion – roleplaying. But we’re not actually going to be talking about roleplaying in WoW, instead we’re going to talk about the real world equivalent of that (un)familiar aspect of the game and step into the realm of theatre. We’re not going to talk about the theater, but rather the theatre that takes place within the theater.

And in typical Psynister style, there’s a story to go along with it.

Backstory: Happy Seventh Anniversary to Us!
Last week my wife and I celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary by spending a week away from the boring Texas plains spent in and around the beautiful mountains of Colorado instead. The idea behind the trip was to get away and relax for a while, just to be away from everything and enjoy each other’s company. We didn’t want too much planned, we didn’t want to stay busy of feel like we were on the road constantly, so I took a look at events in the areas we were staying in for just a couple of things for us to do to have it be more than just a trip from one place to another.

The first of those planned events was to watch the American Idols Live Tour. We didn’t have huge hopes for the concert, but we do watch the show so I figured we might as well take advantage of the opportunity and go see it. We were both surprised in how well they all performed and you could see a lot of growth in some of them that you didn’t see on the show. A lot of those singers were really able to find their voice and the right kind of songs for them when they weren’t restricted by the rules of the competition. I’ll leave out most of the details and just say that we both enjoyed it a lot and we were both happy that we decided to go ahead and go even though we talked for a while about just eating the cost of the tickets and skipping it.

The next day we left the hotel in Denver for three wonderful days in Evergreen, CO at a bed and breakfast called Highland Haven, and it was exactly what we needed. It was definitely the best of the three places we stayed during the trip, and staying in a creekside B&B up in the mountains is an amazing way to get some relaxation, and breakfast was great every day.

The day that we left Evergreen for Golden (the location of our first kiss, I’m cheesy, what can I say?) was the day of our final event, which was to see a play in Arvada. And that is where we get into the inspiration for this post.

Roleplay = Theatre = PHAMALY?
The final night of our vacation is when we went to our last event, a performance done in the Arvada Center amphitheater of Beauty and the Beast (there’s an excellent review of it here if you’d care to read). If you’re not familiar with the story of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, then here’s a short description for you:

Once upon a time there lived a selfish young Prince, who had everything his heart desired. One stormy night, an old Woman begs for shelter in the Prince’s castle offering in return, a single red rose. Unwilling to help her, he turns the old woman away. As punishment, she transforms him into a hideous Beast and places a powerful spell on the castle and all who live there. Years later, a kindly old villager, loses his way in the woods. Terrified of the ominous forest, Maurice seeks shelter at the old castle, but the Beast takes him captive instead. Maurice’s daughter, Belle, desperate to save her father gives up her freedom to set him free. With the help of the enchanted castle’s residents, Belle sets out to tame the unfortunate Beast not knowing she will break the spell and discover her handsome prince.

When I had purchased tickets, I had no idea that PHAMALY would be involved, or even who or what PHAMALY was. I knew the story and I’ve been involved with theatre since my early teenage years, so I just wanted to take my wife to a play. Little did I know I had purchased tickets for much, much more.

As we picked up our tickets from the box office and made our way down to the second row of seats in the Arvada Amphitheater I couldn’t help but notice the large number of people with physical disabilities in attendance. Not that there was anything wrong it it, it just stuck out to me from how many there were and I commented to my wife, “there’s a lot of people in wheelchairs here tonight.”

As we found our seats we took a look at the program and there we saw the PHAMALY logo and a short description of who they were and what they did. That explained the unusually (to me) high number of people in the audience with disabilities and my curiosity really began to grow.

“The Physically Handicapped Actors and Musical Artists League (PHAMALY) is a theatre group and touring company that performs throughout the greater Denver area. PHAMALY was formed in 1989 when a group of former students of the Boettcher School in Denver, Colorado, grew frustrated with the lack of theatrical opportunities for people living with disabilities, and decided to create a theatre company that would provide individuals with disabilities the opportunity to perform. As a not-for-profit membership organization, PHAMALY is dedicated to producing traditional theatre in nontraditional ways.”

As the show went on there was a wide variety of actors and actresses on stage, with various disabilities. Some of them you could tell what their disabilities were and others you could not, but while you might expect some of that to take away from the experience, keeping you from being absorbed into the story being performed in front of you, that was not the case at all. In fact, it turned out to be one of the most beautiful performances I have ever seen; and being involved with theatre for so long, I’ve seen a lot.

Seeing a wonderful play performed by these amazing people was more than worth the low cost of the tickets to see it, but also being able to see the looks on the faces of those actors as they took their bows before the audience at the end of it, and seeing how incredible and meaningful it was for them was literally breath taking. And it was more than just seeing people with disabilities performing on stage. I think this was possibly one of the single best stories they could have used as it relates on so very many levels to each individual on the stage and so many others there in attendance.

It’s a story about looking beyond the physical body, seeing the true person for who they are rather than what they appear to be. It’s about dealing with physical impairments, like losing the use of your hands as they’re turned into melted candle wax, and living your life to its fullest.

It’s much easier to feel emotionally connected to the actors on stage than it is the animated characters of the Disney’s cartoon, especially as you can see the real life disabilities tied into the characters that they portray. To keep things upbeat for you now and then PHAMALY added in a few bits of comic relief of their own, that also tied into it well. My favorite character there was Lefou, played by Regan Linton. She’s the underling of sorts to the bad guy, Gaston, and she happens to be in a wheelchair. One of the set pieces on stage was used to symbolize the stairs leading up to the Beast’s castle, and as Regan rolled over and ran into it, she turns to the audience and says, “Thseriouthsly!?! WHERE, iths the RAMP!??!” [Edit: Per Daniel's revelation, switched Regan's gender to female as it should be. (Sorry, Regan!)]

Daniel Traylor, who plays Lumiere and is depicted above, was also a highlight of the show for me, both because I love the character and because he pulled it off so well. He fills a role of comedy and of drama, he’s the source of light (pun) and hope, and the acting and costuming came together brilliantly.

Psynister Support
Having been so impressed with what I saw there on that stage and learning more about PHAMALY, I felt the need to add PHAMALY to my Psynister Support page, as an organization that I trust and admire. As part of our mid-long term plans includes moving to the Denver area, I hope to be able to be more supportive of this wonderful organization.

They perform, at this time, only in the greater Denver area, so if you would like to see them perform then you’ll have to go to them, but I strongly encourage anyone in the area or traveling through that might have the time to spare to attend one of their performances if you have the chance.

If you wish to find out more about PHAMALY, you can do so by clicking on their logo up above, or by visiting their webpage at www.phamaly.org

 
8 Comments

Posted by on August 30, 2010 in Roleplaying, Share Your Opinion

 

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The Three Dragon Sisters

Once upon a time there were three dragon sisters. Though beautiful in their power and glorious in their strength, they agreed to instead take on the form of the most beautiful humanoids on the planet, the Blood Elves.Though they varied somewhat in appearance, in most ways they were alike even down to the way that they dressed. In praise of their beauty and cuteness, the heroes of the land gifted each of them with a beautiful robe and staff of the highest quality.



Only a small amount of their history is known, and few know more than I. Details of the very beginning are mixed in the many tellings, but it’s generally agreed that they started their journey as any other “normal” blood elves would. But for the lack of detail we’ll skip to something more and not jump around. We’ll start with the hunt for the rejects of Ice Crown. Two abominations there were; large, powerful, and overwhelming with the stench of Ugly.



The youngest sister was the quickest to act, slowing their the great construction as the others attacked. But the blood of an abomination does not quickly freeze, so the fires ignited, its stench on the breeze.



“Luzran” was its name, but no one knew why. It charged the three sisters not knowing it would die.



It held a great butcher’s axe in one hand, and chained hooks in the other two. Its last thought should have been to flee, and perhaps it would if only it knew…



..that these three dragon sisters had come for his loot.



Powerful these sisters were. Each was strong in arcane magics, and each of them especially attuned to the element of Fire. No foe was too powerful for them, and it was they who discovered that all faces will melt if enough heat is applied. If you need some proof, just look at its eyes!



The three dragon sisters.

 
10 Comments

Posted by on May 3, 2010 in Blog, Roleplaying, World of Warcraft

 

Roleplaying Alt: You Decide

For a few months now I have contemplated giving Roleplaying a shot. I am an avid roleplayer in every type of game that I play. I was introduced to D&D when I was four years old, though I didn’t actually start playing the game until I was nine. I love roleplaying, and I love World of Warcraft. I used to really get into the story of the games that I played and I liked knowing a lot about the world I was in and how things related to one another and so forth.

A lot of that changed though when I went to college. I no longer had time to play as much as I did before but I still liked playing the games. What ended up happening though was I began to ignore story for the sake of playing the game instead. I really like to beat games quickly the first time I play and then go back for a fully indepth experience during the second play through. Since my time was short, it was easier to just jump online for a quick walkthrough and then play the game while ignoring most of the story.

That was a bad habbit I developed and it’s one that has made WoW a bit less enjoyable than it could be. I really love playing the game and all the things we can do within the world and such, but I can only give you a summarized version of what any of the story is througout any of the game.

That’s where you guys come in. I need help.

The Plan
I want to roll a character that I can really get into from a roleplaying perspective. I don’t care what faction he’s in, what class he is, what professions he takes, or what gear he wears.

The server I roll the toon on doesn’t particularly matter to me, nor does the type of server that it is. I don’t mind turning off all of my chat logs so that I see nothing that any other players say. It can be a RP server, Normal, or PvP – it doesn’t matter to me. I can reroll on a fresh new server, or I can roll on one that I already have.

What I want to do though is start a brand new toon and take the time to really get into the story of the game. I want to talk to those of you who have actually played this game and paid attention a bit to some of what’s going on around us so that I can get the most out of this experience.

I need help.

Race
While I prefer to play the game as Horde, this time I need to keep the doors wide open. I want your opinion on what race(s) I should play strictly from a story standpoint. If you think that gnomes have the best, richest story in the game then tell me to roll a gnome and I will do so (yes, @Arrens you can come kill me and eat me for saying that if you must).

I know there aren’t really any race-specific quests in the game, but if there are some quests that you know enrich a particular race enough that you would suggest I play that race just to experience it, then let me know.

I have played all of the Warcraft games, but I don’t remember a lot of the old story, and I certainly haven’t made any particular effort to go back and learn it. I’m not so much interested in becoming a master of Warcraft Lore, but I do want to learn from this experience.

Class
Taking class quests, play style, and ability to solo content all into account here – what class(es) would you suggest that I play?

If a certain class’s class quests really helps you to get into the story, then I want to know. If you feel that the best way to experience what this game has to offer is by sneaking around as a stealthed rogue, then I want to know. If you think the best way to really get into this game is to be a warrior who rushes into combat to face the enemy, then so be it; let me know.

The point here is to play the best combination of race/class to get the most out of the game. With this toon I plan on reading all of the quest text and even talking to random NPC’s that I come across simply to see what they have to say. If going after Shaman totems makes this game tick for you, then let me know. If rogue quests expand the story too much to be missed, throw it out there.

Tell me which class(es) you feel would give me the richest roleplaying experience.

Death Knights: I want this to span across the whole leveling process, so this is going to be a level 1 toon. Death Knights are out. No exceptions.

Professions
Some race/class combinations make for good professions, some seem a bit odd, and so on and so forth. I don’t care so much about what I’m getting out of the professions as I am how it fits in with the overall concept of the character.

If you think a Gnome Warlock Herbalism/Blacksmith is (honestly) the way to go, then that’s what I will make. Well, alright, so I wouldn’t grab two professions that abosolutely do not work together at all, but still. The point is, if you think any of them will strengthen the experience at all, then I want to know about it.

Questing
There are a LOT of zones that I have never even been to, much less quested in. I have a set of quests that I like to do from a leveling perspective, so there are far more zones that I have never quested in even than the ones that I haven’t been in.

Along with that, I don’t play Alliance characters, so I have no idea what any alliance quests are like beyond level 20, and even then all I know is the Night Elf area. My highest alliance character is a 20 NElf Hunter.

I don’t have to have just a single idea on this one, I want to know what quests or quest chains you think really give this game some flair. If I need to travel to some remote zone in the world to do some quest that gives me a whopping 3 silver as my reward, then so be it. If you think the Gnome starting area is supreme, but questing around Stormwind is the next best, and then heading over to Bloodmyst Isle is the way to go from there, then let me know.

While low level will obviously be where I start, I’m looking for all of your specific suggestions on questing. If you think I should be sure to experience every quest in Howling Fjord, should do all quests related to Ragefire Chasm, and should get the achievement for all of Hemmit’s quests, then let me know.

Any quests that you consider top of the line that should never be missed are what I want to see. Or if there’s a chain of quests that absolutely suck and you always skip them, but they really help you get into the story, then let me know about those as well.

How to Help
I am looking for whatever suggestions you might have to offer here. It can be a mixture of Horde/Alliance-only or it can be something general like “I think Alliance quests are better than Horde” then go ahead and let me know. I want to know what your opinions are so that I can come up with the best way for me to really get into this game.

I have already tried every race and every class in this game. So telling me to “just play whatever you want, whatever you think you’ll have the most fun with” isn’t going to do anything for me because what I want is what you have to suggest for me.

If you don’t know much about the quests but feel a specific race or class is best suited for getting into the game’s story, then let me know. I am looking for whatever information you would like to share here.

 
17 Comments

Posted by on August 13, 2009 in Roleplaying

 

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