Oregon Trail: The Play! is an irreverent comedy honoring/skewering that most traumatizing/beloved of educational video games from the 1980s and 90s. The play follows the Bootsmeyer family (fatherly Ezekiel, godly brother Jebediah, obligatory-female-character Martha, young ragamuffin Judah, and Old Crazy Fingers) as they set off in the year eighteen somethin’ something on a troubled journey westward. Narrated by an inexplicably omni-present general store owner, this dark comedy takes the audience through familiar territory, as the Bootsmeyers stock up on provisions for their oxen-led wagons and do their best to survive river crossings, illnesses, hunting, highway robbery, and a host of other mid-nineteenth century dilemmas.
Throughout, Allegra’s parody of the game’s (and American history's) casual sexism, racism, and depletion of natural resources is intentionally uncomfortable, but to enjoyable ends. Nostalgia will wax as audiences hunt mid-play in a nerf shooting gallery as surely as squeamishness will strike when dysentery jokes pile high. Oregon Trail: The Play! pays homage to the American traditions of Westerns, dysfunctional families, and cross-country road trips, but above all else offers tribute to the beloved game played by so many millions in school.
“Allegra forgoes ‘slow and steady’ and keeps it all moving along at a ‘grueling pace.’ The result keeps the biting laughs flowing like a cholera-laced stream. With quicksilver wit, Allegra topples the overt racism and sexism of some earlier depictions of history.”
“An irreverent and rambunctious production, the script pokes fun at racism, sexism, and retrospectively hilarious notions of Manifest Destiny…. If one plays the video game before the show, he will realize how closely Allegra made [the] script follow….”
“The journey may be educational, but the actors/players are wildly politically incorrect in their choices and the show is darkly funny.”
Cover Design by Chris Marroy Designs
Oregon Trail: The Play!
by A.J. Allegra
A.J. Allegra is the Artistic Director of The NOLA Project theatre company based in New Orleans. He has started writing several plays and finished few. In NYC he wrote for the sketch comedy groups Back of the Line and Brave Aunt Beth. He holds a degree from New York University and a certification in Shakespeare from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London.
Get Oregon Trial: The Play! at your favorite New Orleans bookstore! Copies are available at Tubby & Coo's Mid-City Book Shop & Octavia Books.