In What Are You Playing This Weekend? we discuss gaming and such with prominent figures in the pop-culture arena. We always start with the same question.
Zatanna Zor-Elle is a performer who has acted in several “Geek Girl Burlesque” shows at the Gorilla Tango Theatre in Chicago. She made her first appearance as Spock in the Star Trek-themed The Boobs Of Kahn and followed that with turns in burlesque shows based on Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom (Temple Of Boobs), Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (Hooter Rangers), and Star Wars (A Nude Hope). She also plays Princess Peach in Boobs & Goombas: A Super Mario Burlesque, which begins another run starting Feb. 2. She talked to Gameological about her dislike of the Princess and what video game would make a killer burlesque show.
The Gameological Society: What are you playing this weekend?
Zatanna Zor-Elle: I’m in the middle of God Of War, Arkham City and Lego Star Wars. Maybe Mario Kart. I’ve actually never been beaten in Mario Kart. Ever. And I lived with six guys in college. We had a projector screen in the attic, and we used to play there. I used to kick their ass at Ninja Turtles too. But yeah, anything Mario I’m into except for Super Smash Bros., which I know a lot of people don’t want to hear.
Gameological: Was your love for Mario part of the reason you decided to play Princess Peach in this show?
Zor-Elle: Not this role, maybe this show. I’ve never really liked Princess Peach much. She’s always needing to be saved and has the whole blonde, damsel-in-distress, always-wearing-pink thing going on. She also makes terrible noises in Mario Kart when she’s passing you, and she’s a terrible competitor in Mario Party. But maybe that’s part of the reason why I’m excited to play her, because I get to put a weird twist on her. I’m not going to give away the show, but I get to make her my own. She’s not a typical princess. I get to make her a full character where she’s a little darker.
Gameological: What Mario character would you rather play?
Zor-Elle: Probably Bowser. I love playing evil characters. I have a soft spot in my heart for the bad guys, and I play mostly bad guys in the other shows, with the exception of Spock. You can get your body involved more when you play as a villain, and I like to get my body involved in acting, which is maybe why I picked burlesque.
Gameological: What about the age old question about Toad—boy or girl?
Zor-Elle: What exactly is Toad up to, is the real question. The gleam in his eye—he’s a mushroom, for Christ’s sakes. Dealing drugs to the brothers. I always thought Toad was a boy, though. Toad certainly isn’t a boy in Boobs & Goombas.
Gameological: Does your intimate knowledge of Mario games inform your performance at all?
Zor-Elle: Absolutely. Being able to take it to the extreme—I’ve seen it on the video game, and now I can make it larger than life. There are a lot of jokes in the script that you wouldn’t get if you never played the games. You can’t properly deliver the line if you don’t understand what it’s about and why it was written that way. You wouldn’t think a burlesque would have that much depth, but…
Gameological: Would a Mario Kart burlesque even work?
Zor-Elle: You’d be surprised at what they can pull off. They’re pretty crafty with their sets. Cars, chicks, boobs—I think it would work. I’m pretty sure people would pay to see that.
Gameological: All the things you could do with a red shell. What other video game do you think could be a good burlesque show?
Zor-Elle: Mortal Kombat would be awesome, just to see a bunch of half-clothed women running around the stage beating each other senseless, though it would probably involve pillows and feathers. Feathers, definitely, because this is a burlesque.
Gameological: I’ve seen a couple of the geek burlesque shows, and they strike me as more comedy than sexy.
Zor-Elle: Yeah, burlesque actually started as variety shows and performance pieces, and it could be done with comedians and musicians. What this theater does differently than other burlesque shows is they actually put together scripts—so these shows are actually more musical theater production and comedy. Instead of doing regular musical numbers, there is stripping instead. It’s fun. There are more serious ones, too. The one based on The Walking Dead is more serious. Although, yeah, it is called Boobs Of The Dead. But you know, boobs are funny. Things that jiggle are funny.
And now, we put the question to you. Tell us what you’ve been playing lately, and which games—video or otherwise—are on your playlist for the weekend and the holiday break.
(Photo of Zatanna Zor-Elle: Alan Gagne)