There’s no room for ego in hard work—unless, perhaps, you are one of the three authors forced to collaborate on a novel in Garrett Heater’s Playing God. Thriller writer Ann (Karis Wiggins) has hit a slump while trying to save her crumbling marriage; young talent Paul (Darian Sundberg) is trying to shield his frail career from rumors that may hold more truth than his best-selling “semi-autobiographical” book does; and Ken (Lou Balestra), a romance novelist in desperate need of money, is hoping to use the others' vulnerable circumstances to ride their talents to commercial success. The scribes struggle to find their own voices amid the clashing of genres, but ultimately enjoy riffing on one another’s words. Although Heater has devised several heartfelt moments and promising conflicts for this semidark comedy, the play ultimately lacks emotional weight. But Playing God does touch suggestively on the solitary nature of writing: Whatever pleasure may be derived from controlling the destinies of your characters, creation can get lonely.—Nikki Vega
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