What makes Off Broadway and Off-Off Broadway shine in a way that’s so different from Broadway is the risks they can take, and the artistic expression that comes along with those risks. Often times, Artistic Directors look for pieces that challenge societal norms and conventional, mainstream thought in an effort to craft a story that’s uniquely suited for the stage. They look to create a theater experience that can’t be experienced anywhere else. It just so happens that’s also what makes the NYC theater community so vibrant and ever-changing.
GOLDOR $ MYTHYKA: A HERO IS BORN exemplifies this kind of vibrancy and then some. Written by Lynn Rosen and directed by Shana Gold, GOLDOR $ MYTHYKA tells the true story of Roger Dillon and Nicole Boyd, a young couple just as much in love with the world of fantasy role-playing games as they are with each other.
Garrett Neergaard and Jenny Seastone Stern deftly play the parts of Bart and Holly, loosely based off the aforementioned Roger and Nicole, who both work for the same armored car transport company. Right around the time of the economic collapse of 2008, their job starts laying people off while their boss starts making unwanted advances on Holly.
Feeling rudderless and powerless, Bart and Holly escape to the world of Dungeons & Dragons, where they can act out their desires, dreams, hopes and fears in the safety of a fantasy role-playing game. In this world, they adopt the personae of Goldor and Mythyka to escape the harsh banalities of real life.
That is, until escape presents itself as an all too real – albeit illegal – option. Facing layoffs and a crude boss, Holly comes up with the idea to steal millions of dollars from the company. Bart not only supports the idea, but goes a step further; beginning to plan an unrealistic future for them, where Goldor and Mythyka will be the people Bart and Holly always dreamed of while forever being on the run, throwing caution to the wind and fulfilling their destinies. He calls it freedom.
In effect, they become known as the Goth Bonnie and Clyde, and eventually gain national attention and a large cult following.
This is where the play shines the most as it shows off its ambition and the kind of vibrancy mentioned earlier. The piece brings ENERGY to the house. Before we even start, the DJ (yes, there’s a DJ who serves as the narrator, played to perfection by Bobby Moreno) gets the audience going by playing music and having people come up to the stage to dance. (“The L train is definitely working today”.) Then we launch straight into the story, having had the tone set from this beginning.
The DJ is then a constant presence throughout the rest of the show, chiming in with tidbits of info and narrative that help the audience piece together what’s going on, navigating them through various flashback scenes mixed in with the present day, often sharing the stage at the same time.
There are also a number of visual aides (such as scrolling panels and scrims) and musical cues that showcase important parts of the story or background elements that help contextualize what’s going on. It all makes for a very moving experience with all of it serving to set GOLDOR $ MYTHYKA up as a very human story about a couple that faces unbelievable adversity and must make incredibly difficult decisions for themselves and their families.
Bart and Holly – Goldor and Mythyka – are people haunted by a past, on the run from reality, and headed to an uncertain future that will present them each with different paths to take. And they brought to life with much bravado and emotion by Neergaard and Seastone Stern.
Three years ago New Georges launched what they called “The Germ Project” which was designed to give four writers and their collaborating directors the commission to make plays of “scope and adventure” and “unbridled imagination” in which to challenge the producers. GOLDOR $ MYTHYKA is the second germ to be produced. With it, we can see the sheer amount of ambition, energy, and scope that New Georges is bringing to theater.
And in the end, we hope they continue…