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Bang Bang, Game Over

New play explores whether violent videogames create killers

Still, there's something to be said for championing a unified perspective. It often makes for more engaging drama. First Person Shooter seeks validity for so many viewpoints that the dramaturgy suffers. Many of the exchanges seem repetitive (why repeat Kerry's wife's death scene multiple times when once would suffice?) and/or twice as long as they ought to be. Similarly, the prevailing wisecracky videogame industry-speak quickly becomes as frustrating as failing to get beyond Level 1 on a game of Gears of War. It's a shame that Loeb's impulse toward variety doesn't go as far as to embrace atmosphere and tone. The production also falls prey to heavy-handedness. The actors perform every scene as if it's the play's most pivotal point, delivering each sentence like it might be their last. The endless (and loud) rearranging of furniture on stage and the actors' collective little jumps up and down in between scenes look like an attempt to give the action a hint of unity in choreographic form. But the group movements lack precision and seem superimposed on the play.

First Person Shooter explores the fallout of a school massacre from multiple perspectives.
Zabrina Tipton
First Person Shooter explores the fallout of a school massacre from multiple perspectives.

Details

By Aaron Loeb. Directed by Jon Tracy. Starring Craig Marker. Through June 9; Tickets are $36; call 677-9596 or visit www.sfplayhouse.org.
SF Playhouse, 533 Sutter St. (between Powell and Mason), S.F.

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It seems strange, perhaps even insensitive to say this, but the closeness of the frightening events that took place on that Virginia campus in mid-April have given the playwright and his collaborators a type of gift — a license to be provocative and dangerous, to make us understand our knee-jerk reactions not just to the Virginia shootings, but other mind-numbing, finger-pointing tragedies in a different way. Though undeniably a bold effort, the play doesn't quite hit us between the eyes.

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