Author Ruth Comley and director Micheal R. Kiser are getting their actors ready for “End Game: the rolePLAY,” a rambunctious production featuring swords and sorcery.
In “End Game,” George (Dan Burdess) gathers his friends, Justin (Craig Lang), Charlie (Micheal R. Kiser), James (Joel Seals), and Chrissy (Kerry McGrath) for an epic evening of role-playing Dungeons and Dragons.
They guide their avatars, Adaric (Jen Gilbert), Brandis (Spring Pigeon), Sharkarn (Brian Hoag) and Mika (Lynnsey Garlick) through a medieval landscape fighting off treacherous troll-like creatures, the Polygoons (played by Sam Kiser, Ruth Comley and Kendra Wickham).
Their adventure plays out on stage as the characters fight minions, face dangerous challenges, disarm traps, and fight with swords. There is a lot of swordplay as the avatars battle the deadly Polygoons (actors in some seriously scary rubber masks).
Stage and Steel founders, Micheal R. Kiser, Sam Kiser, Ruth Comley and Jen Gilbert once comprised the Pittsburgh Stage Combat Society. The PSCS put on sword-fighting demonstrations, performances in the park, etc., all the while perfecting their craft in sword-fighting and acting.
“End Game: the rolePLAY” is an all-ages show. There is no foul language. It’s violent, but not gory.
It runs Sept. 16-18 and 23-25. All shows are at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. at St. Peter & St. Paul Hall at 220 Mansfield Blvd, Carnegie, PA 15106.
It’s a lot like Orlando’s Medieval Times, sans the horses and the giant turkey legs. And, like Medieval Times, the audience is encouraged to cheer on their favorite character.
In 2009, the group formed Stage and Steel, combining their love of acting and their love of sword-fighting into all of their shows. In their first season, they produced two swashbuckling shows with "A Night of Knights" and "A Vampire in King Arthur's Court."
“End Game: the rolePLAY” is their second show of the season. Earlier they performed “Sir Victoria” a “Victor/Victoria” meets “Mulan” crossbreed. That play was about a girl who wanted to fight like a knight, but had to disguise herself as a boy to do so.
The actors fight with stage steel, a non-edged no tip sword that still clangs like a real blade. In rehearsal, the actors use cold steel, a black plastic sword with the same weight as the stage steel blades.
Director Micheal Kiser said, “We’ve written all of our shows in house. My brother Sam (Kiser) wrote ‘Sir Victoria’ and Ruth (Comley) wrote this one.”
He added, “We’re very excited. Where else in Carnegie can you get a show with sword-fighting?”
Another founding member, Gilbert said, “We’ve been doing this a long time. Our first show together was ‘MacBeth,’ and I didn’t have a sword-fighting scene. I watched all the others in a huge fight scene and I thought it was really cool. Pretty soon we were all learning how to fight with swords.”
Gilbert plays a masked creature, a Polygoon, in “End Game: the rolePLAY.” She sheathed her face with the rubber mask in rehearsal and commented, “I have to learn how to talk with the mask on. It's not easy."
Check out the website for more details: www.stageandsteel.com.
This story originally appeared on Chartiers Valley Patch.