Theater & Performing Arts

Of Dice and Men

When: Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Oct. 1 2011

Some audience members compared Cameron McNary's latest production to Chekhov, probably because of the denseness of the language and McNary's knack for teasing drama out of real-life situations. In this case, the term "real-life" might be a point of contention, since Of Dice and Men is largely centered around a fantasy game. McNary tells the story of five people -- and one interloper -- who've structured their lives around the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons. While the script directs a lot of barbs at nerd and sci-fi subcultures, and includes jokes about Peter Pan syndrome (i.e., the Dungeon Master who still lives in his parents' basement at age thirty), it also provides astute commentary on fandom, obsession, war, and the channeling of male aggression. The always-terrific Seth Thygesen stars as an improbable moral compass, but Jai Sahi steals the show as his obnoxious, geeky friend. Director Melissa Hillman creates a world of remarkable verisimilitude. Through Oct. 1 at LaVal's Subterranean (1834 Euclid Ave., Berkeley). $12-$20. 510-224-5744 or

Rachel Swan

Price: $10-$20

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