Dungeons and Dragons and Drama is a two-night engagement—March 21st and 28th—where several theatre professionals will raise funds and awareness for theatre communities in Northwest Washington State. As a rehabbed theatre kid myself, and a soggy Pacific Northwest kid, this is an idea that absolutely resonated with me. All the better, one of the participants and driving forces behind it is Ginny Holladay, whom I’ve had the pleasure to play D&D with.
It seems like a lifetime ago, but Ginny was in the same D&D party as me. It was—I believe—both our first times playing fifth edition. She was even inadvertently responsible for my first death! Yes, I’m still blaming you for that.
A lot has happened since then, and unfortunately, we’ve not been able to share the gaming table much since. However, our enjoyment of D&D has (obviously) endured. So, when I heard that she was going to be doing this charity stream event for local theatre groups, I knew I not only wanted to support the show, but wanted to give her a chance to hop on the blog and share some of the passion and excitement she has for both the theatre arts and Dungeons and Dragons!
Assuming you didn’t all meet in a (virtual) tavern—how did this party come together? What inspired you to put together a charity stream to support local theatre communities?
This was a true worlds-colliding moment. I approached Nathan, who I know from working together in Seattle several years back. Out of the blue I messaged him with, “hey what would you think of DMing a bunch of theatre nerds to help raise money for all of our theatres?” And thankfully he liked the idea!
From there it was about gathering our party intentionally and as quickly as possible! I brought in my actor/director/cosplayer friend, Tia. Nathan brought Jake on board, who has never had a chance to play 5e. We wanted a fourth player to round out the party and I had recently met Fred over Zoom, knew he loved improv, and told him D&D was basically improv on steroids 🙂 Thus our party was formed! We rounded it out with two artists I admire greatly, Cammry and Ron, and we got to work!
Tell us about your background, how it relates to theatre, why theatre is so important to you, and specifically the theatre community (Olympic Theater Arts) you’ll be supporting.
I’ve wanted to be an actor since a very young age, and I’d say my entire personality is “performative.” It wasn’t until I actually began my professional acting career that I realized I wasn’t satisfied with performance alone.
I loved directing and writing and crafting with my hands. I loved it all. I decided to devote my life to storytelling, wherever that might take me. Most recently it has brought me to OTA as Executive Director, where our storytelling is rooted in inspiring our community to come together and empower each other.
Oh, that sounds fantastic! How are some of the ways that OTA strives to inspire its community to come together? Are there specific programs, initiatives, or shows you’re particularly proud of?
Like any theatre we always carefully curate a season of live entertainment, but something I’m very proud of is the way that our staff pivoted during COVID. Since we couldn’t house our usual season, instead we have put together a series of Old Time Radio Plays which we taped, and can be viewed on our website!
What unique challenges do theatre communities face on a day-to-day basis? How has that been impacted by COVID-19?
Theatre communities have the potential to be some of the most diverse subcultures…but we tend to shoot ourselves in the foot by being hyper exclusive. 😬
Ironically, I think COVID has made it clear to those of us with privilege, how sucky it is not have easy access to art. It’s an opportunity for a healthy perspective shift.
If we can survive COVID as a theatre community, I think we will be launching into an era where arts thrive….as long as we do the work to include and represent all of our community.
Since you all have a theatre background, how much of the prep for these sessions rely on that background? Are there character studies, line reads, or dress rehearsals? Or will the sessions be entirely improv?
The process has been pretty D&D-typical. One-on-ones with the DM to go over our character creation, etc. We’ve connected a lot coming up with names and ideas for our troupe. Then we played two separate “Session Zeroes” to get the flow.
The biggest goal was to bring new players up to speed, and find a group synthesis that would make the livestream the most fun we can make it!
At the different donation tiers the DM and individual party members receive unique and exciting opportunities—allowing the audience to directly influence the game. Which of these tiers are you most looking forward to?
I really hope we reach the $1000 mark. At that point several of my items “level up” into very unique magical items…some of which have wonderful theatrical flair!
It looks like you’ll be playing a character named Ovaira—without spoiling anything, what can you tell us about them?
Ovaira (she/her) is the stage manager. She has a twin. And she has a major chip on her shoulder regarding the last big theatre she interned at (without pay of course).
I know personally you have a passion for Tiefling warlocks, but is there a chance that the infamous “Teethling” makes an appearance?
OMG THE TEETH!! Well, I don’t believe Ovaira will share my FIRST tiefling warlock’s passion for collecting the teeth of her slain enemies…wow I loved playing that character! I will say, this is the FOURTH tiefling warlock I have created. I’m pretty sure it’s a THING with people. I mean it’s a badass combo that can manifest in endless personalities!
What goals do you hope you’ll reach for D&D&D? Both financially in support of theatre communities, but also as far as visibility and awareness?
We set a $5000 goal and I certainly hope we can meet that. It feels like it honor, all of the work these theatre artists have put in for their communities!
More than that, I really hope we link up some of the gamers and theatre nerds who aren’t yet aware of the magic the game and the craft can have together!
Is there anything else you would like the readers to know about? Feel free to drop as many shoutouts or links to as many important and relevant people/things as you want!
Please watch us live, whether or not you can donate! We all miss performing, and the best performances are born from a killer audience :)))
Follow my sneak peeks and other behind the scenes tidbits over on Instagram @fabulistfables
Dungeons & Dragons & Drama logo was created by Cammry Lapka.