World of Warcraft is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game created in 2004 by Blizzard Entertainment, with an incredible track record for earnings and followers. Hard gamers that we are, as soon as we heard that WOW was making its way on stage, we decided to find out more. Beam Theatre‘s director, Canadian-born Andra Roston, is bringing In Love and Warcraft to the Edinburgh scene.

FB: So how did Beam Theatre start?
AR: We started the group after many years of doing amateur theatre both in Edinburgh and elsewhere. We wanted to try a different way of working – one that was more collaborative than we had experienced in the past. We wanted to make sure that everyone involved was getting a chance to express themselves creatively and feel an equal part of the process. So Beam was born!

FB: What was your first show?
AR: Last year we did a show called “I Hate Hamlet” by Paul Rudnick. It’s a ghost story with lots of funny bits. It was a great first show – we had a fantastic cast, a great set, and it all came together! We felt really supported by our friends and family, and we felt like it was really working! It felt like a proof of concept, but we definitely wanted to try something different this year.

FB: So we heard! 
AR: This year we are doing a very different show called “In Love and Warcraft” by Madhuri Shekar. Winner of the 2014 Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition, the play explores the increasingly blurred line between our online personas and the real world, while also examining the impact this has on modern day romantic relationships.

Adrian MacDonald and Sarah-Louise Cairney, on set.

FB: As a gamer, this sounds way too familiar! How did you choose this show?
AR: Well, it feels really relevant and current, since we are all living more of our lives online. I also love that there’s a strong female lead character in the play – last year we had some strong male characters, and I wanted to do show where a woman was the key character. Evie is a gamer for sure, but she’s not quiet or shy – I love the fact that she breaks a lot of the stereotypes.
The show is also really relatable – it’s about modern relationships and different views and opinions about love and sex in our modern age. So although it helps to know a bit about Warcraft, or another MMORPG, it’s not necessary to enjoy it.

FB: How have you had actors prep for the show? I assume you didn’t only cast Warcraft players!
AR: No, we didn’t! But their homework included playing World of Warcraft – it was important to me that all the actors sort of “got” it. I didn’t want us to play the stereotypes, so I wanted them to understand why someone would choose to play a game like this. And it worked – Sarah, who is playing Evie, got really into the game, and has just paid for a subscription!
I actually love to do character work with the actors. In rehearsal, we spend at least half an hour talking about the scene, their relationships and motivations, and why the scene is in the show at all! It really helps them act naturally and instinctively since they really understand their character before we even start acting out the scene.

Adam Daniels and Georgina Grisold, on set.

FB: Have you run into any obstacles yet? Is there anything you’re worried or nervous about?
AR: One of the things that is a huge challenge for us is costumes. One of the scenes actually takes place in World of Warcraft. So, it’s been a bit of a challenge, but it’s also been a great chance to be creative! We asked our actors to help design these costumes since they are the avatars their characters would have created for themselves. That whole scene was a bit of a worry, but now that we’ve rehearsed it, it’s actually looking great!

FB: Sounds really exciting! How can we all come and see it?
AR: So glad you asked! The show runs February 4th to 6th at the Assembly Roxy. You can get tickets here. We actually have a few different things you can buy – a ticket, a ticket and a signed programme, or a ticket, signed programme and a t-shirt! And, if you aren’t able to attend, but you want to show us some love, you can donate on that page as well – and a donation of £15 or more will get you a t-shirt from the show as a thank you from us!