Early in the play’s development, writer Andrew Stein, ‘worried that the concept may seem too far-fetched’. In reality, it’s scary just how close the world is to becoming the one depicted in this fascinating play. Evaluating ‘curated coincidence’- a phrase that hit me and has stuck with me- with an algorithm that knows us better than ourselves. This theatre piece acts as an unnerving warning that we can’t escape the inevitable ‘Disruption’ caused by technological advancement and greedy entrepreneurs. I adored the lighting and video design (Robbie Butler and Daniel Denton respectively). The neon blue colour scheme combined with the digital video projections on the ground emphasised that we are always surrounded by the impacts of technology. Set design by Zoe Hurwitz contributed to this idea too. I want to particularly note the back screen that is at times used to map out ‘the algorithm’ but at other points seems to be a blurred mirror. I imagine the intent of this is to represent a two-way mirror and how ‘Big Brother (or Sister)’ is always watching. I thought these were all clever and commendable design points which had deliberate meaning.
I enjoyed how the different dynamics between romantic relationships and friendships were explored. With the personalities and physical portrayal not being too overwhelming, and the personal circumstances not feeling too far-fetched, all the characters and their stories felt believable. I felt like I was eavesdropping on real peoples’ dilemmas.
‘Disruption’ focuses on three couples and two entrepreneurs who all have their own backstories that intertwine. I thought Stein’s script and Hersh Ellis’s direction was brilliantly balanced to allow every character their own opportunities to develop. There was no bias or an overpowering individual which meant I was able to witness and appreciate each of the character’s arcs. As an 8-person cast, it is remarkable that I felt I could understand every character on a deeper level. Diverse and considered casting was positively noted as the talents onstage all presented unique perspectives on the subject matter. Not one individual particularly stood out as they were all as strong a performer as each other.
Later in the play, there seemed to be moments where the characters were caught in an increasingly heavy rainfall. The metaphor attempting to be displayed was ambiguous. However, I interpreted it to represent that technological change should be taken as seriously as climate change. That we need to do our best to guards ourselves from it even though we will never be able to fully protect ourselves.
‘Disruption’ is a play that forces you to critically reflect on how technology is advancing and the frightening effects it will have on society if entrepreneurs continue to be selfish and hungry for money. There is an ever-growing amount of data in the world and the ways this can be manipulated to be used for or against us is startling. Having also recently read the book ‘Stolen Focus’ which discusses the origins and impacts of ‘the algorithm’, this show has reinvigorated in me that we need to urgently do something before technology further corrupts and cripples us. ‘Disruption’ is a hard-hitting and incredibly relevant theatre piece. It is crucial that we acknowledge the crisis we could face and this show indicates what our near future could realistically look like.
Disruption plays at Park Theatre, London until the 5th August. For more tickets and information, you can follow the link here.
AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Pamela Raith