Preparing for the play “In Love and Warcraft” required a different level of commitment from Director Carolyn Ratteray.

“I grew up playing Kings Quest, so I totally understand the allure of role-playing games even though I don't spend my time doing that anymore,” says Ratteray, assistant professor of theatre and dance at Pomona College. “I did, however, get lost in many, many hours playing World of Warcraft as ‘research’ for this show. I got to level 37 as a Paladin playing for the Alliance.”

Opening in the Allen Theatre on Thursday, March 2, “In Love and Warcraft” offers rom-com take on the divide between the online world of fantasy role-play and the messy real-life world of love and relationships.

Set on a college campus, the play features a cast of six, including Jeff Friedman PO ’19, who plays Ryan, the “somewhat virtual boyfriend” of Evie, a college senior and top-ranked World of Warcraft gamer girl.

“I think the play shows that virtual relationships can have the same validity as real ones,” says Friedman, noting that his involvement on social media is primarily Facebook memes. “I think social media can be harmful if people use it as a way to ignore social anxiety, but if someone is happiest with their relationships when they are virtual, then more power to them.” 

Before starting rehearsals, Ratteray had a chance to meet with playwright Madhuri Shekar and to talk about a scene set in the Warcraft universe.

“She told me how important it was for that scene to truly look like it was taking place inside a video game, which meant that, even though the actors' voices could be emotional, their faces and bodies had to remain neutral,” says Ratteray. “It was a lot of fun to work on that with the actors.”

Performances of “In Love and Warcraft” will be held at 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 2 through Saturday, March 4, and 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 4, and Sunday, March 5, at the Allen Theatre (300 E. Bonita Ave., Claremont). Tickets are $11 general admission and $6 for students, faculty, staff and seniors.

Madhuri Shekar, will be available for a talk-balk after the 8 p.m. Saturday show and on Monday, March 6, noon to 1 p.m., at Frank dining hall to talk to students interested in playwriting and the entertainment industry.