Light rain

Winnipeg, MB

13°c Light rain

Full Forecast

Winnipeg Fringe Festival

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Taking it to the next level

Actors interact with animation to emulate the glory days of classic joystick video games

Posted: 07/24/2012 1:00 AM | Comments: 0

Advertisement

  • Print

If the contemporary high-definition video game is like a big-budget Hollywood movie, the more primitive video games of the early to mid-'80s should lend themselves to being produced on a modest fringe festival stage.

That, at least, is the working assumption of Winnipeg fringe newbie Cody Creed and his partner Daryl Nichol as they mount their live-action production of Jumpman Bros. Enter 8-bit Underland.

It may take place on a stage, but the production is as much a work of animation as it is theatre.

It is the familiar-looking story of two heavily moustached heroes attempting to rescue a princess from all sorts of dire, low-resolution menaces. With the use of a green screen, the play plunks the actors into retro video-game environments created by Creed, a self-taught animator who also wrote the script.

"Daryl and I play two characters who have been pulled into this world to rescue a princess," Creed says.

"I created all of the visuals. It takes the audience through a Mario-like setting, then a Zelda-like setting and Metroid setting and then there's even a game of Tetris at the end."

Nichol, a trained pianist, provides ongoing musical accompaniment on his accordion throughout the play, recalling those earworm soundtracks of video games gone by.

"Every chance I get, I just poke fun at the concepts and the strange things that are in those games," Creed says.

And as Super Mario may have endured uncounted levels of tribulation to save Princess Toadstool, this too is a labour of love for Creed, 34, as he affectionately recalls the 8-bit processor games played on Nintendo Entertainment Systems and Sega SG-1000s.

"When I was a kid, we had an Atari that we bought at a garage sale and then my uncle bought a Nintendo Entertainment System and I thought that was the best," he recalls.

"What I try to celebrate in this play is the classic video games. The 8-bit games I played when I was a kid, for me, that was a golden age for video games. There was so much that was beautiful in them and so much that was unusual. There were a lot of 8-bit games that came out of left field.

"That's what I like and that's what I want to celebrate."

There is no actor onstage playing the princess, but Creed still got to cast someone close to his heart: His seven-year-old daughter Evelyn.

"The princess is actually a video recording that I made," he says. "I used a setting on my camera that turns a video into 8-bit and so she's very boxy, but anyone who knows my little girl will know that it's her dancing around on the screen.

"And what better princess to save than my own?"

 

Jumpman Bros. Enter 8-bit Underland plays at MTC Up the Alley (Venue 2) until Saturday.

randall.king@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 24, 2012 C5

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.