A review by Cliff Homewood
Disruption. The title refers to how technology disrupts our lives. For every decision we lose something. Freud pointed to the example of the invention of the car reducing our time enjoying a walk. Cut to today living up to a dystopian SF of people stuck behind machines growing obese and unhealthy.
Disruption is about the future of AI and big data and the disturbing world being created. We push forward with technology, integrating it into our lives without thought. The play is about a group of friends being sold a chance to get in at the start of new technology – An AI designed to guide through life’s big decisions.
At first I feared I was going to have trouble following, keeping track of how the eight characters relate to each other, but was fine. Humour comes from how you relate to its touchy character. As an idea-driven play it’s well written. Listening to people socialise was ok, but then their salesman friend arrives who dominates the play. You want to spend time in his company, he electrifies proceedings, Oliver Alvin-Wilson well cast as Nick. It makes you realise how hard it’s to say no to a salesman that knows your likes, dislikes and desires. We can’t be that far from when you walk into a shop a camera on the door scans you, pulling up your big data, the AI feeding the salesman with information to enable the sale. Coerced by a combination of the salespersons guile and AI knowledge.
The play starts subtly asking questions about how AI works now, how it knows what ad to show you and builds, in the second half we really get to see where it’s going.
Alas this play ends at Park Theatre, Finsbury Park on the 5th August but will hopefully get a longer run somewhere. It’s set for some unknown reason in New Jersey making me wonder if it was designed for America, references to brownstone were not very relatable. The disappointing programme has one A5 page from the writer Andrew Stein, the rest is production credits.
Good, thought provoking SF. Worth seeing for the future it postulates if you can catch before it closes.
Tickets from: https://parktheatre.co.uk/whats-on/disruption/