Created and performed by Christopher Samuel Carroll, Rachel Pengilly, Brendan Kelly and Ash Hamilton
Directed by Christopher Samuel Carroll
Bare Witness Theatre Co.
Ralph Wilson Theatre, Gorman Arts Centre, Braddon to 11 March
Reviewed by Len Power 2 March 2023
Four actors embark on a morally-ambiguous sociological experiment to untangle the reality of life online. It’s a play about surveillance, data collection, and how we make sense of our place in the digital world. It’s also a bit of a detective story and a nod to certain technology paranoia films. There’s also plenty of fast dialogue and absurd action plus a few soapbox lectures delivered direct to the audience.
Besides the actors on a typical office set, the digital projection, designed very well by Chloe Brett and Brad Moss at Silver Sun Pictures, almost becomes another character in the play. There’s a clever lighting plot, too, designed by Antony Hateley.
Much of the play gives us a rapid fire, very physical tour through the development of the various stages of the internet. The experiment embarked on by the four actors earlier in the play then comes back to haunt them as they get caught up in a paranoid situation of legal and technical difficulties. They realize they’re out of their depth and an absurd fight to extricate themselves takes place. It’s amusing, but unsettling, as we acknowledge how much we’re caught up in this on-line world, too.
|From left: Christopher Samuel Carroll, Brendan Kelly, Rachel Pengilly and Ash Hamilton|
The cast of four perform this show with great skill, keeping the pace constantly at a frenetic level. Both Rachel Pengilly and Ash Hamilton need to pay more attention to their diction, though, as they were occasionally hard to understand.
Two hours of non-stop intense dialogue and manic action does make it feel like quite a marathon, especially sitting on those hard seats in that theatre (bring a cushion). An interval or some editing should be considered.
|Christopher Samuel Carroll and company|
If you’re hopeless with the internet and still have passwords like 1234, you have a real need to see this show but you might have trouble keeping up with all the information coming at you. For savvy internet users, who know a lot about the pitfalls anyway, it’s not going to make you change your online behaviour. You’re hooked and the play ruefully acknowledges that.
Photos by Novel Photographic
Len Power's reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 in the ‘Arts Cafe’ and ‘Arts About’ programs and published in his blog 'Just Power Writing' at https://justpowerwriting.blogspot.com/.