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A CurtainUp Review
Goldor $ Mythyka: A Hero Is Born

"Each day I survive that cursed world I grow mightier. My body tells me so. Mightier than their columned facades, mightier than the first glimpse of America rolling over Earth's curve."— Holly
Jenny Seastone Stern and Garrett Neergaard
(Photo: Jim Baldassare)
A young couple steeped in fantasy role-playing games steals millions from an armored car company. They become folk heroes, a Goth Bonnie and Clyde.

If it sounds too crazy to be true, think again: In November 2007, Roger Lee Dillon and Nicole Boyd, Dungeons and Dragons aficionados and lovers, made off with $7.4 million before their capture in the hills of West Virginia a few days later. It's a story that's stranger than fiction. And it's even stranger as theater, in Lynn Rosen's over-the-top but joyful play, now at the New Ohio Theatre.

The themes, like everything else in this play, are big: ambition, delusion and reinvention. It's the latter that Rosen accentuates in her play, vis-a-vis the pair's interest in role-playing games. In Rosen's imagination, this gets amped up to extremes.

Bart and Holly (Dillon and Boyd's theatrical counterparts) give themselves pseudonyms — Goldor and Mythyka — and studded leather costumes for a complete alter-ego. Without that, we learn, they're both essentially archetypes of stuck, hopeless townies. When they meet and fall in love, they reinforce one another's delusions of grandeur, and the ill-fated burglary scheme is hatched.

As they travel across the country with the loot, Bart (Garrett Neergaard) and Holly (Jenny Seastone Stern) inspire a working-class rage against the wealthy. The events of the play are set against the backdrop of the 2008 financial crisis, and Goldor and Mythyka become anti-Madoffs, champions of the struggling masses.

But the outrage is misdirected. In a television news story about the increasingly popular outlaws, one person shouts, "Stick it to the fuckin' banks!" Bart's boss responds, "We're not a bank, people! Get the whole story! We're a family-owned company!" This fundamental irony is central to the emptiness of Bart and Holly's quest. Their populism is really just as false as their spiked shoulder pads and corny hero names. The whole endeavor, for both the couple and the country, is laughably and heartbreakingly futile.

Strong performances abound. Neergaard and Seastone are intense and endlessly game as Bart and Holly. The delightfully deadpan Ben Beckley makes several memorable cameos. And Bobby Moreno brings a lot of energy as the show's Dungeon Master cum Narrator — in practicality, a headphone-wearing cartoon character of a DJ (he actually says, "shiznit" at one point) who keeps things moving. When smoothing jump-cut transitions between time and space, he's a welcome guide. But when he interjects the inner-thoughts of characters, or provides color commentary during meaningful exchanges, he sometimes breaks the spell of the moment.

If the production feels a bit over-stuffed, it's intentional: In your review you say that The New Georges Theatre commissioned the piece as part of an experiment to produce plays of "scope and adventure" with questionable "produce-ability." Mission accomplished: Rosen and director Shana Gold call for almost every trick in the book in the production, including trap doors, sound and video cues, and a complicated adaptable set (courtesy of designer Nick Francone).

At times, these kitchen-sink elements seem perfectly apt to accompany a script that's so ambitious. But around the time Bart and Holly start performing complicated choreography on a moving ladder, you feel that the creative team might have gotten a bit carried away with the artistic license. But that's kind of the point here. Like its hero and heroine, Goldor $ Mythyka: A Hero Is Born is an impressionable, over-excitable 20-something of a show. But what it lacks in grace, it makes up for with honest-to-goodness enthusiasm. The result is uncompromisingly nerdy and, in a way, triumphant. Huzzah, indeed.
Goldor $ Mythyka: A Hero Is Born
Written by Lynn Rosen
Directed by Shana Gold
Cast: Bobby Moreno (DJ/Dungeon Master), Garrett Neergaard (Bart/Goldor), Jenny Seastone Stern (Holly/Mythyka), Kristin Griffith (Gerri), Rob Leo Roy (Fed/Mr. Neal), Christopher Gerson (Nate & others), Bubba Weiler (Boy), Ben Beckley (Waiter, Goran and others), Jaspal Binning (Locals and others), Jenni Meador (Locals and others)
Set Design: Nick Francone
Costume Design: Tristan Raines
Lighting Design: Lenore Doxsee
Sound Design/ Original Music: Shane Rettig
Stage Manager: Danielle Teague-Daniels
Running Time: 90 minutes, no intermission
The New Ohio Theatre; 154 Christopher St., New York, NY 10014; (212) 675-6446; sohothinktank.org
From 4/3/13, opening 4/8/13, closing 4/27/13)
Performance times: Wednesday through Saturday at 8pm, Sundays at 5pm, and Mondays at 7pm
Ticket cost: $25/$35 premium
Reviewed by Jordan G. Teicher at April 8 performance


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