For Marcus, Jimmy, and Carla, the game in Iraq is over. Minefields and M-16’s have been replaced with Applebees and video games. But, for three friends, the road back to “normal” is just as explosive and unpredictable as the war itself. Their new mission has just begun…
- Red Stage Theatre Company (Burlington, VT)
directed by Maryna Harrison
- From The Ground Up Theatre Company (Los Angeles, CA)
directer by Corby Sullivan
...its keen observation of war's stress points abroad and at home marks Levine, helmer Corby Sullivan and the cast as talents to watch. Levine is acutely aware, as much popular fiction is not, that war doesn't necessarily turn haunted ex-warriors into screaming lunatics.
The best plays generally involve some form of transformation with at least the main character and, ideally, with all the characters — not in some artificial, let’s-shoehorn-an-interesting-twist-in-an-otherwise-uninteresting-script way, but in a manner that feels natural, life-like. “Game Over,” a work by a young New York playwright named Josh Levine, does just that. Ostensibly a play about two soldiers struggling to cope with life back home, “Game Over” is really about people trying to make human connections, keep human connections and forget human connections. That each of the trio of characters in “Game Over” at some point taps into all of those categories shows that Levine is a writer in command of his craft.
Burlington Free Press
When a new report reveals shocking stats on suicide or post-traumatic stress disorder among vets, media attention focuses on their struggles for a news cycle or two and then fades. These numbing statistics overwhelm us with the problem’s magnitude while depersonalizing the anguish of individuals. In "Game Over," playwright Josh Levine deftly takes away the anesthetic of unfathomable numbers. His intimate character study focuses on the relationships of three close friends, two of whom have just come back from Iraq. Levine crafts sensitive characters with whom we connect easily. He makes us think and confront issues that we’d rather avoid. ... "Game Over" fits well with the company’s aim, which ... is to present “theater that still asks questions [and] awakens the soul.” Mission accomplished; Levine’s show is both thought provoking and emotionally engaging. ... Tune out the drone of war news if you must. But don’t turn away from an absorbing play, where insight aplenty remains.