An Archive of Reviews and Interviews, For More Recent Press see NEWS
Tom Clancy's The Division 2
Article in Kotaku about some very special collectibles at Kenly college.
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege-Ubisoft Montreal
"In place of a story mode, “Siege” offers 11 single-player “Situations,” which play out on the same maps as the multiplayer and ask players to perform the same basic actions — rescuing a hostage, defusing a bomb, or killing all enemies — without the help of any teammates.
These feel hollow at first, like dramatized chess puzzles, but the absence of narrative context or characterization begins to feel purposeful, embodying the fantasy of the specialist who doesn’t need to know why he’s invading a fortified chalet in the French Alps, only that the order was given. The decision happens elsewhere, the debate about strategy and potential consequences out of his hands. For a game about guns and combat, “Siege” often makes one feel oddly vulnerable, powerless to do anything but follow orders and oversee the efficient discharge of one’s weaponry."
"Situations consist of ten singleplayer scenarios that task you with various goals as some of the playable operators. These challenges get players accustomed to the stealth-based combat and modes they will face in the online multiplayer. Each situation starts with brief introductions to the scenario and player character as well as some tips to complete the task at hand…Situations does a nice job of teaching players the basic mechanics without feeling like a dull tutorial mode, something other recently released multiplayer shooters could learn from.
After completing all ten Situations, a multiplayer Situation is unlocked that’s accompanied by a brief but beautiful introduction cutscene that resembles the closest thing Siege offers to a story mode…Once completed a cutscene plays that feels more like the ending to a game than a single scenario, and makes me wish there were more of these multiplayer Situations in the game, but alas, currently there is only one."
"It's absolutely not a substitute for a full-on story mode, but it's one of my favorite non-campaign additions in a while, in a sea of multiplayer-only shooters."
"Finally, there are Situations: 10 single-player training missions (on the same 10 maps) that spotlight half of the 20 included Operators. They serve as decent tutorials for multiplayer proper, but because you don’t have AI teammates at your side, they teach you little about the tactics and choices you’ll have at your disposal when other people get involved. After that, the bonus Situation 11 that unlocks after you complete the other 10 actually backfires as a pleasant surprise. Not because it’s bad – quite the opposite! It’s a five-player bespoke Terrorist Hunt scenario, complete with an intro cutscene, a unique gameplay hook I won’t spoil, and a post-mission cutscene that basically announces, “Rainbow Six is back! And we’ll totally hook you up with a proper co-op campaign next time, promise!” It’s effectively the developers saying, “Here’s everything you wanted in a narrative-driven campaign that we totally could’ve given you!” It’s a tease."
"So far the majority of complaints from those who are still deciding whether or not to purchase this game concern the lack of a single-player campaign. It’s true that Siege is pretty much an exclusively multiplayer, online experience. There are ten “situations,” however, which you can play through offline, and these are specifically designed to be played solo. These situations are designed to introduce players to a handful of operators, and to all of the mechanics that make the multiplayer experience so compelling and complex. Everyone starting out should take the time to work through these - I really can’t stress this enough.
Siege doesn’t try to be all things for all people, though, and when you complete your tenth solo situation an eleventh mission is unlocked that places you in a squad with four other people. It’s as though Ubisoft Montreal designed this just to push the solo players online and into a group, forcing them to communicate and work together. And work together you must if you want to have any hope of completing that last situation. I spent the majority of my night failing, going from squad to squad, until I was finally plugged into a team with mics. Without spoiling anything (it’s incredibly jarring and intimidating the first time you experience it), I’ll just say that the final situation is one wherein it’s almost impossible to know what’s happening around you without constant communication. That people are not yet plugging in their microphones and playing cooperatively is apparent, as at the time of writing this review only 0.8% of PSN players have unlocked the trophy for that mission."
"Finally, there are the single player situations. Ten of these single player missions are on offer and really should be the first things you play as they act almost as an extended tutorial that will take a couple of hours to get through. Each will see you given an objective similar to those in terrorist hunt and will introduce you to a new specialist (one of the 20 playable classes). These situations are great for learning the basics, but bar the last one you probably won’t replay them. The final situation turns into a game of terrorist hunt where you team up with four others. Strangely, this is the only part of Siege that has any kind of real story and it’s quite an interesting one at that. Sticking a bit more story into the other situations would make them a lot more entertaining, but it’s not a criminal omission...If you and your friends are looking for a tactical multiplayer shooter then you can’t go wrong with Rainbow Six: Siege. The online action is quite simply phenomenal when played correctly, although a few balance changes to make attacking easier would improve it considerably. Things become less fun when you play alone, but it is certainly still enjoyable. Terrorist Hunt remains great entertainment and weirdly relaxing compared to the online mode, and the situations are decent enough as well. The flagship destructible environments become almost forgettable when playing, which is a testament to how well they are implemented, and the operators offer a much needed sense of variety. Few shooters feel as good as this to play, but friends are definitely needed to get the full experience."
"Instead of offering a core single player campaign in addition to a multiplayer suite, Rainbow Six: Siege is almost all about multiplayer. Well, that and teamwork, because it is, after all, a tactical shooter. That doesn’t mean that those who love to go about things alone (like myself) were left out of the equation, though, because there are ten different situations that you get to play through solo. Sure, they’re there to get you ready for the multiplayer, but they’re more robust than what you normally get with an online-focused game, with Titanfall‘s ‘missions’ being an example of a less interesting approach.
Although they generally only last several minutes, some of the tougher situations may have you trying different tactics in order to beat the AI. I spent a few hours or more with them, and then ventured into the eleventh one; that being an unlockable operation that is restricted to cooperative play with other people. It’s the most story-oriented facet of the entire experience, too, as it pits the operatives against an unknown sect of terrorists who’ve taken to unleashing a strange biological weapon on one of America’s most historical college campuses.
You may feel differently, but I treated the eleven situations as a campaign of sorts. That’s because the missions didn’t feel like tutorials, and were more fleshed out and polished than what anyone will really expect. Each one is different, too, placing you into a new location and offering a varied challenge, be it rescuing a hostage, protecting one or taking out a set number of baddies. Bombs are the focus in the latter situation, and defusing them is a tense and challenging proposition.
Another reason why the situations exist is to show how different operators — from different agencies like the FBI and Spetsnaz — offer different play styles. Rainbow Six: Siege is, at its core, separated into attack and defend scenarios, and you can purchase unique operators for each situation. They all have special names and badass intro videos, but the main draws are their unique stats, weapons and abilities...The audio is top notch, too, and there’s some solid voice acting in the cutscenes that accompany the situations. Explosions, gunfire and destruction rain throughout the maps and it’s easy to identify which location it’s all coming from. It’s all very raucous and realistic-sounding, too.
At the end of the day, Rainbow Six: Siege is a relatively polished, intelligently-made and meritable team shooter."
Honestly, OK-2014 Harvest #7 Montreal, QC
"The hour long play transported you through one lesbian’s teen years, met with disappointment and rejection, resulting to a life on the streets, and all the way to resolutions where dreams really can come true...The only disappointment for this play is that I wish it were longer. I was so enticed by each character that I would have enjoyed getting to know each one a little more. I guess all good things do come to an end, and Honestly OK was without a doubt a must see."
Natasha Leduc-Naked Underground Montreal(Review)
"Billed as the semi-true story of a girl and her shoes, “Honestly, OK”, presents the journey of Nicole as she discovers her sexuality and her passion for theatre. The play develops through the course of many years and multiple locations throughout Southern California, and it’s staging provided interesting forms in which these gaps are bridged. In the same vein, the story relies on a plethora of characters to pack its punch. The fact that the cast consists of only four actors is testament to the resourcefulness of the team...this play is a coming-of-age story in which art offers the best opportunity to find oneself. Definitely a must-see."
Carlos Fuentes Velasco-Montreal Rampage(Review)
"Lauren, the play’s co-author with Nicole Dominguez...is interested in the story’s potential for evolution and transformation. At the same time, she believes that the many identities to be presented on stage are allegorical to what an actor’s life looks like."- Montreal Rampage(Preview)
"We saw 'Gone Girl' today. Not impressed. Then saw 'Honestly, OK'. MEGA impressed!"-Liz Devo
"Got to see HONESTLY, OK presented by PTP, 32HTC and HARVEST #7 at MainLine Theatre tonight! Feeling grateful for those awkward 9:45pm time slots because that was amazing! Congrats and thank you to all involved"-Nicky Fournier
“Contemporary Knights”... combines serious subject matter with smart humor in the form of two one-act plays that build on each other as they explore the interaction between mental illness and relationships. Written and directed by Lauren Stone, both pieces feature complex female leads that struggle with conditions granting them both strength and instability as they engage with men who have an interest in them. The males serve as vehicles to address the perceptions of mental illness from an outsider point of view, the romanticising of crippling illness and the often confrontational dynamic between the sexes...the dialogue is precise, funny and even allows for the sprouting of curious references like the Mamas and the Papas, fairy tales and even characters from the mythical court of King Arthur. Both pieces are highly enjoyable and provide an emotional roller-coaster, while at the same time offering chance for reflection about highly relatable topics." Carlos Fuentes Velasco-Montreal Rampage (Review)
"It took everything in my power not to get involved with the actors directly during this very well written text. It's just so involving and so contemporary, that it is definitely going to make you want to jump into the conversation with the actors." Davyn Ryall-Montreal's Main ARTery Click to listen to his review/interview with the producer Kenny Streule and Lauren Stone.
"This promises to be an evening of fun, nuanced theatre, with the aim of offering the audience both laughs and food for thought." Carlos Fuentes Velasco-Montreal Rampage(Preview)
"This evening I had the pleasure of of watching Contemporary Knights written and directed by Lauren Stone. Contemporary Knights is composed of two short plays discussing some of the issues of mental illness, Bi-polar disorder, OCD, and phobias to be exact...I must give extra thanks to Lauren who wrote the plays. Having dealt with people struggling with depression I know how difficult it can be helping the other person while trying to dealing with your own life as well. I could actually recall some conversations that have sounded similar at times. Additionally, the use of Agoraphobia in Black Flats was not only a good way to simplify the action in the play, but it also shows the audience how crippling certain phobias can be. I highly recommend you go see these plays." Michael Loewen-Of Mic's and Men
"Lauren Stone...seems a book-end to male cynic-in-chief Neil Labute’s work." Byron Toben
"Go see Contemporary Knights at the Freestanding Room! Saw it tonight, well-acted, beautifully written..." Stuart Fink(audience response, facebook shout outs)
Radio Interviews with
Honestly, OK-2014 Hollywood Fringe Festival
"Funny and honest, at turns hilarious and heart-breaking, this show flies by in just under an hour. Nicole Dominguez is wonderful in the lead role which is based on her own life story. Ellen Williams is terrific in multiple supporting roles, each with a unique character, physicality and even accent. The transitions between scenes and monologues were seamless and nicely helped along by a great lighting design and expertly handled by an expert stage manager Amber Bruegel. I would tell you to GO see this show, but it closed today." Elena Campbell-Martinez
"In “Awkward” by Lauren Stone, directed by Julia Griffin, two people travel a fair distance in order to meet in the real world after making an Internet connection. They discover that both have been lying about who they are and that any possibility of a real connection will depend on creating an entirely new relationship based on authenticity. I liked this show because it had a real sense of the pain of not having a connection based on truth and the loneliness of being separate and anonymous." Jerry Kraft
On Fiction Writing
"The walk turned into a run. I hadn’t run so fast since war was declared in December ’41. As I ran the wolf ran along side, and some where along the line the two of us merged and became one, the supreme predator, the beast from the primordial swamp. A fierce howling burst out from foam-flecked lips, the howl of the hunter, the howl that rejoiced in the warm trail, the scent of a kill. Another hundred yards or so and his den would be in sight. Another minute and Prinz would be finished. Doomed. Yeah doomed, because I would get to him before the law and its lily-livered liberal guardians arranged for him a mink-lined padded cell. It was hard to contain that final howl, the howl that proclaimed to all the world - “I’ve got you, Yozzer Prinz!” A car pulled up alongside, a head, hair blowing in the dark night wind, the fragrance of Confetti Lentheric. "Clay, stop. We have no time for this now." I groaned. It meant only one thing, and our contract was clear. Guests came before anything - even Napoleons of crime, the brainless punks that followed them. And before you say anything, chasing and following are two different things. "Who," I said. "Lauren Stone. I reckon she's your kind of gal." "I only have one kind of gal." I said. The answer pleased her. It always did....click to see more
The Old in and Out
The Old In and Out: Penetrating The Writer Brain: Lauren Stone And it’s another week of penetrating brains. This week Lauren Stone agreed to be probed. Lauren was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She is currently dividing her time between Seattle, WA, Los Angeles, CA, and Montreal, QC where she lives with her husband and their canine children Ralph and Olaf. In addition to writing, Lauren is an accomplished musical theatre actress garnering rave reviews in Los Angeles and Seattle. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from California State University, Long Beach in Fall 2011. She is currently applying to MFA programs. - Interview with Renee Miller
"We all bring different life experiences to the table and different literary connotations. There will be words that some of us hate. I know several female writers who hate the word "moist". My writing partner and I get in arguments about the word "pussy". She hates it. I love it. And, because she hates it, I love it even more, and will find ways to slip it into scripts, especially scripts where she could potentially play that part and have to say the words "moist" and "pussy" on the same page. It may be slightly evil, but when you are writing on spec you've got to keep your spirits up somehow, and tormenting the ones you love in a relatively harmless way is sometimes the thing you need to help you keep going " (read full article)
2010 - present
2010 - present
Reviews & Interviews-Acting
Plaid Thursdays' #WFIIA
"As a long-standing fan of this show, your correspondent was pleased to see his favorite performers back in action. The high-pitch voice of fro-clad Lucas DiTecco, for instance, always reduces me to tears of laughter. Paired with the inventive performances of Lauren Stone, their forward/rewind number was one of the show’s highlights." Carlos Fuentes Velasco-Montreal Rampage
"The play was awesome, and I have to say that Mary Picard, Dominique Noël, Kevin Black, and Lauren Stone, really do make you believe that through misery there is hilarity. " Natasha Leduc-Naked Underground Montreal(Review)
"Lauren Stone, co-author of the play, plays a series of supporting female characters. Your correspondent, however, found her rendition of Dominique, the Filipino mother his favorite. Her ability to switch between accents and voices provides great comic relief." Carlos Fuentes Velasco-Montreal Rampage(Review)
Whose F*** Is It Anyways?
"Tuesday night, I went to see Whose F*** is it Anyway at Cabaret du Mile End. A take on the original show, Whose Line is it Anyway. I love this show so the right execution of is was very important to me. and I wasn’t dissappointed. They were right on the ball. All your favorite games such as “Scenes from a Hat”, “Forward-Reverse”, “Lines in a Pocket” we’re played. Yes it can be a stressful or nerve racking for some to say things out loud. That’s why you need a dude like Lucas in the crowd who yells out the perfect thing every time. My new favorite “En Français” is fun and it suits this city 200%. Highlight of my night was the guy making sound effect with his mouth. What a fun skit that was...their chemistry was strong, a very important detail when it comes to Improv. It is probably, to me , one of the hardest forms of performance art. You never know what is going to happen, you must rely on your wit and your team members as well and even in the best circumstances and the best subjects, it can still fail. Hats off to you guys!" - Mobtreal.com
"This was an evening of effervescent laughs and off-the-cuff wit, a performance that justified the show’s cherished status with the audience at Fringe." Montreal Rampage
Holy Spirit Holiday Party-Host
"The performances were woven together with the charming presence of the night’s host, Lauren Stone, a multi-talented performing artist and writer from Los Angeles. She easily guided the readings in and out of long stretches of music and conversation, and chose the winners of the raffle prizes... She effortlessly controlled the audience, and kept us enthralled throughout the evening." Tara McGowan-Ross
25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
"Lauren Stone, as overachieving Marcy Park, and James Sgambati, as afflicted defending champ Chip Tolentino, manage to be winning in the show’s most thankless roles — Stone becoming a ball of action in the prop-filled “I Speak Six Languages” and Sgambati playing frustration to the hilt in, well, let’s just call it “Chip’s Lament.” There’s another title, but I can’t go there." Michael C. Moore-Kitsap Sun
25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
“Lauren Stone was like a fireworks show during her song” Tony Gavilanes
Magical Land of Oz
"At this particular showing, the Wicked Witch was played by Lauren Stone, and if her acting is any indication of the kind of instruction these students get, they’re in terrific hands! She was awesome." Allison McDowell Endstrom- ParentMap.com
Los Angeles, CA
"Fight coordinator Dan Flapper and his fight captain, Nathan Dean Snyder, and fight assistants, Lauren Stone and Mike Austin, deserve credit for the very realistic battle sequences, full of surprises. ...The three witches, Stone, Rachel McVay, and Joanna Bartling, are energetic and even a little scary, climbing over their cauldron, calling up spirits and even the devil to convince Macbeth of his destiny. This is as good a "Macbeth" as you are likely to see, full of fresh faces and fine acting, well worth a night at the theater." Excerpt written by John Farrell in the Long Beach Press Telegram, March 3rd, 2010
"Other notable performances include the three Witches (Lauren Stone, Rachel McVay and Joanna Bartling) who turn their double-double-toil-and-trouble scene into a vivid Food TV scene directed by Tim Burton." James Scarborough- Gazettes
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
"Then there are the courtesans (…) a quintet of blossoming beauties who provide the essential eye candy for the show's bawdy comedy. Stone, as the imposing Amazon Gymnasia, is particularly impressive." Tom Titus-Daily Pilot