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Hugh Likes Theatre: Six Stories, Told at Night

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Six Stories, Told at Night
Directed by Blair Haynes
Written by KT Bryski
Starring Blythe Haynes, Alexandra Milne, and Isaiah Kolundzic

The Skinny – KT Bryski and Blythe Hayne’s award-winning audio drama shines as an independent theatrical production.

I wrote about Six Stories, Told at Night when it was first podcast back in 2016. Since then, it has gone on to win a Parsec award, and is now a black box theatre production in this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival! The conversion between one-woman audio drama and stage production is outstanding, and the work blossoms under the talents of not one, but three amazing actors.
The story remains largely the same. When Sam’s childhood friend Joelle disappears, she resolves to find her. But Joelle hasn’t gone just anywhere. She’s gone to Elf Land, the world all stories come from, and it will take a very special story for Sam to follow her there. Along the way, Sam examines their relationship and the stories they grew up sharing, a series of French Canadian folktales that are the only clues she has to finding her friend.
“Six Stores” stars Blythe Haynes, the original actor from the audio drama as Sam, and Alexandra Milne as Joelle. They both trade off parts in the stores as well, shifting seamlessly as the present to the past and from Sam’s Imagination and memory to the folktales themselves. Isaiah Kolundzic rounds out the cast as Coyote, as well as any additional male parts as required. The benefit of seeing the drama as a play is seeing the actors bounce against one another, and watching as they slide from role to role, from story to storyteller. Each of them inhabits the stage differently, and the tension, dramatic and personal, sparks off of them.
Haynes, as Sam, is a coiled spring, all still nerves and unspent energy. Milne practically dances across the stage, all grace and calculated action, while Kolundzic is pure chaos as he shifts from Trickster God to werewolf to other, more terrifying monsters.
“Six Stories, Told at Night” is presented at the Theatre Passe Muraille as a part of this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival through July 15th. If you can get to Toronto to see it, go check it out!

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Hugh Likes Tabletop Games: Villages of Valeria

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Hugh Likes Tabletop Games: Villages of Valeria

Villages of Valeria
Designed by Rick Holzgrafe and Isaias Vallejo
Art by Mihajlo Dimitrievski
Published by Daily Magic Games

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The Skinny – A richly illustrated, strategic Tableau building card game that is quick to learn and fast paced.

Villages of Valeria is a great little card game. Players each take the role of a Duke, competing to make their town the capital of a fantasy kingdom. Using hands of cards drawn from a central area, players gain resources, build up their towns, and recruit a variety of citizens, from butchers to arch-mages in order to have the best town.
The game is easy to learn and strategic without being overly complicated. It is played with one to five players, even including a solitaire variant. A more open take on deck building games like Dominion, players build their towns up in the open, so everyone can see what everybody else has. The really interesting mechanic, though, is follow actions. Each turn, one player decides what action they are going to take, such as building by playing a card or paying cards to gain more resources. The trick is, after that player goes, his opponents can follow up with the same action. There is usually a benefit to going first, such as a cheaper cost or a better reward, but this still adds a nice layer to the gameplay, and you have to consider your opponents’ potential action as well as your own. This also keeps the gameplay fast paced, involving players even when it isn’t their turn. A typical game usually only lasts about 20-25 minutes.
The art on the cards is also great, with a nice use of the fantasy theme, including five gorgeous player staring cards of castles in different seasons.
Villages of Valeria is a quick, fun strategy card game that doesn’t require a PHD to play, with exciting fantasy art. You can find it online at dailymagicgames.com, or ask for it at your local game store!