Tuesday, April 07, 2015

'The Nether' by Jennifer Haley

7 April 2015

On Saturday we were at the Duke of York's Theatre in London to see the Headlong/Royal Court Theatre production of 'The Nether' by Jennifer Haley. This innovative 2013 play looks at the way our online lives are growing and might become more attractive than our real-world lives. Director Jeremy Herrin, set designer Es Devlin and video designer Luke Halls have created an amazing theatrical experience that blends video imagery with a spectacular set to show the 'real' being constructed from the virtual (though it's interesting how much is achieved with very old-fashioned mirrors!). Jennifer Haley explores some extremely uncomfortable issues, asking whether online role-play might provide a 'safe' outlet for those with paedophile tendencies or whether it might encourage such behaviour. It's a clever, disturbing play that questions the boundaries between dreams and reality and hopes to act as a wake-up call about what is already beginning to happen in online virtual communities such as Second Life. 'The Nether' is a visually stunning but morally chilling drama.

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