MASTERS OF THE DARK REALM

This is a game not anarchy!
— Frank

I have some foggy memory of the role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons back in the day. I couldn’t believe that actual adults would get dressed up as elves, wizards and whatever else lived in the land of fantasy and über make believe. That’s something you do as kids for fun, not, as adults with real responsibilities. Well, the superhero event Comic-Con in San Diego and Los Angeles are popular for a reason. Then there was both the Harry Potter and The Lord of the Ring series that had adults racing to the nearest Barnes & Noble before the tweens had a chance to grab their copy. Masters of the Realm is really an homage to the D&D game and the popular movies that followed. Five grown people and long-time friends, continue to play the once popular game.  There’s the elf-looking Nicole and her husband Joel as the grand wizard (Rachel Christianson and Noah Kaplan are fun to watch). Joel looking like the character Gandalf from Lords of the Rings but with a shorter, darker beard while holding a staph with authority. Then there’s Judy the warrior (Daisy Donohue), who’s an expert with a bow and arrow. Brett is a wood sprite (Brett Gustafson) a cute centaur in human form racing around in the woods and Frank (Kerry Kazmierowicztrimm) is an angry looking troll with piercing blue eyes. The gang have played for years in Nicole and Joel’s basement, which is decked out with figurines from D&D and other fantasy characters. They dress in full regalia and become their characters. It looks like fun.

                                        Loss is a part of nature. —Brett

                                        Nature sucks. —Frank

          The friendship is severely tested when Nicole and Joel announce they are pregnant. Now, normally this would be celebratory news. However, while the other players are overjoyed for the couple, Frank is more concerned that the baby will prevent the game from continuing. As their fearless leader, Joel, with Nicole’s help, try to assure everyone that nothing has to change. It will be fine. The long-standing couple attempt to help their worried friends with getting their lives in order. When Frank learns that the game room will be turned into a nursery, his blood pressure reaches to an all-time high. Then in the midst of their world changing, there’s a silent click that goes off signaling for the players to grow up and move forward. The first to hear that is Brett. Gone are the cut off shorts, weather beaten kicks and lowering his desire for pot and out comes a well-dressed and groomed young man ready to work at a real job for a good salary. He’s looking like a tall chilled glass of lemonade with some spice. Brett prepares for an interview and dressed up in a sharp suit. Frank finds another fellowship (like-minded players) at the Game Store, where players get together and play all day and night. Judy gives a try at dating and is encouraged by Nicole to meet someone. She begrudgingly makes an effort and has a decent time. Writer Tomas J. Misuraca’s ability to combine child’s play and the adult world is a smooth transition. Brett hears the call to adulthood, whereas, for Nicole and Joel it hits them over the head with the pregnancy. Frank eventually will find his way. Judy does her best to move ahead.  Director Corey Chappell does a superb job making fantasy role-playing an art. It isn’t for everyone. Both the show and the game is entertaining and an overall good time. Like I said earlier, there’s a reason why Comic-Con is still going on. Give the people what they want and watch what happens.

Masters of the Dark Realm plays this Friday 12th and ends this Saturday the 13th at 8:30 p.m., at The Actors Workout Studio, located at 4735 Lankershim Blvd in North Hollywood. Tickets are $20. For more information log on to www.fonprods.tix.com or call (818) 934-1366.


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