BWW Review: GOBLINS & GATES: AN ORIGINAL MUSICAL REVIEW has Staged Reading at Montclair University
On Friday, August 4th 2017, at 8:00 PM an hour long reading of the not yet completed 'Goblins & Gates: An Original Musical (In Progress!)' The reading was presented in a studio at Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey. Book and Lyrics were written Michael Campbell of Little Falls, New Jersey, while Music and Lyrics were written by Gonzalo Valencia of Nutley, New Jersey.
'Goblins & Gates: An Original Musical (In Progress!)' is about a group of friends who play an intense, but fun weekly fantasy role-playing game. Their games are often interrupted by their real life situations. The actors play their real life characters while also playing their in game characters. The set consisted of a table, chairs and music stands. Some of the fun, clever songs we heard during the reading were 'The High Winds of Fortune,' 'I Mix Potions,' 'Player 2,' 'My Healer & Me,' 'The Door' and 'Roll With It.' The show, although very funny, does have some serious real life issues that some of the characters have to deal with.
Composer and lyricist Gonzalo Valencia welcomed the audience by giving a brief opening speech where he explained, 'Partial readings like this are part of the process. This is how theater is made. It's a long and arduous process that takes years to complete. For reference, it took Hamilton six years to get to the final state and that's one of the faster timelines...' Valencia discussed his hopes for the audience, '...without costumes and sets, most if not all will be left up to your imagination. We hope that will always be a part of the fun with this piece; letting the audience escape reality for a bit and use their imagination in ways they perhaps forgot they could. He closed his speech by warning us, '...due to the rugged nature of our reading, I might be running around from time to time to move mics around and things of that nature. Don't worry. It's all part of the show!'
Writer and lyricist Michael Campbell, who has a Master's in Education with a concentration in Games in Education, said 'Playing games is so big in our culture and not only that... playing games allows you to talk about a whole lot more, simulate situations that you can't in real life. So that's what we are going for. To show that world of games and the people who play them and show how the games influence them but also how they're influencing the games that they play.'
Valencia added to that by speaking about the heart of the show stating 'It's about friends, friendships, family... There are things that you can't overcome in real life sometimes and the aid of a game could be more beneficial... it works as a type of therapy. When people have all of this stuff going on in their real lives and they don't have an outlet, games are a great way to blow off steam and escape... I would love to convey the importance of games in everybody's lives, not just kids, but everyone!'
Campbell stated 'Just this week, 'Games for Change' happened in New York where people talked about the kind of games they're making and how they're affecting millions of people and how you can teach people to be apathetic and to help each other by playing games and putting them in situations that are similar to real life...I patented a game where it's supposed to be played just like this, fantasy, and the all of the missions are written and the kids go and do them...I test played it and you get so many kids who are excited to play because you leverage their love for games, conflict, and comradery into learning something.'
Campbell and Valencia both spoke about their dream for this show, besides completing it by the end of the year, is where the show would eventually end up. Valencia stated 'It would be so cool if it was in the round, with a table in the center, like at Circle in the Square! That is my dream! But it's ultimately pretty small, so maybe in a black box, maybe Off-Broadway.'
Valencia said 'We're trying to figure out a way to include audience participation. We could maybe encourage people to come dressed up in cosplay and give character sheets out... because ultimately it's about role playing.'
The cast was accompanied by a very talented band. Valencia said 'I would just like to give Barry Spatz a plug. I would normally never give up control of my music, but with him it's like I didn't need to do a damn thing. We are really lucky with the people that we have!'
The impressive band was comprised of Barry Spatz on the Keyboard, Jonathan Ward on Drums/Percussion, Jeff Dingler on Bass, Michael Carleo on Guitar, Zoe D'Amico on Violin and Nicholas Coppola on Cello.
Orchestrations and Arrangements by Gonzalo Valencia and Barry Spatz while Michael Carleo acted as Sound Engineer.
To learn more or to contact Gonzalo Valencia please visit his website at www.gonzalovalencia.com.
Photo Credit: Danielle Valencia