Mike sends Rachel a chilling death threat.  Will he kill her IRL, or is he merely voicing a sick fantasy?

The Wire Game starts off with this question, then moves in quick bites from scene to scene, injecting the audience immediately into the online lives of Mike’s high-school chum Arthur (the identity thief), Arthur’s lonely brother Ralph, Ralph’s lover, serial gamers Ginger and Clyde, suicidal blogger Haley, Jack (Mike’s sorrowful father), and Jack’s chat companion Becky.  The 90-minute drama takes place largely in chat rooms, which have become such realistic environments to the pairs and trios, that they imagine they are interacting face-to-face: sneaking up on one another, flirting, even attacking each other.

This is where the line between fantasy and reality begins to blur for the audience.  Several times, I found myself wondering, “Is this violence really happening, or is it just something one of them wishes would happen?”  Writer and Director Lenny Schwartz (Time ThirteenThe December RabbiThe Scarecrow) purposely obscures this line, keeping us guessing how much of what we see is “real” within the context of the play.  Is Ralph’s girlfriend really a dominatrix, or is that just who she pretends to be when she’s at the keyboard?  Is Rachel telling the truth when she says… anything?  When Mike attacks Arthur – when there is blood – is that “real”?

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