Any member past or present of the SCA or fan of LARPing will sympathize with the characters in Paper Swords. Named for the homemade armaments ubiquitous in such groups, the play depicts two factions within a single kingdom being forced to fight over their land, cleaving the kingdom after the battle.
The drama, the rivalries, the friendships, and the politics of these self-contained worlds all play parts, especially when a group has an organized hierarchy over a long period of time.
If you have never been a part of or known someone who was a part of this scene, you might not “get” the people who immerse themselves into these fantasy worlds. Their alter egos are just as real and vital to them as their mundane lives — often the fantasy can even bleed into the reality in their personal interactions. And often they take themselves very, even too, seriously.
Paper Swords ups the ante by putting all this conflict into a musical setting — and a surprisingly good one. Donovan Whitney plays Avery, knight of Ferndrake, who falls for Elena, knight of Silvemore (Alicia Hamaker), both part of the kingdom of Eleren. Avery initially approaches Elena’s courtship by what he calls “wooing with 1500s lingo” before they finally settle on laser tag. The relationship is going well until the imminent battle is upon them.
Within Ferndrake is another tentative, awkward relationship that is building between Liz (Jordan Brown) and Will (Clarke Remmers) that makes for more comic relief than conflict.
With Sarah Tam as the Silvemore knight Bren, the main players in the show exhibit some solid singing and acting, and they are backed by a band behind the curtain. The show is just as sweet as it is entertaining, funny, and worth a spot on your Fringe stops.
Written by Matt Day and Kelsey Tharp.
- Tuesday, Aug. 21, 7:30 p.m.; Wednesday, Aug. 22, 6 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 25, 10:30 p.m.; Sunday, Aug. 26, 4:30 p.m.
- Firefighters Union Hall