Breakfast Plays: Tech Will Tear Us Apart (?): How to Ruin Someone’s Life from the Comfort of your Own Beanbag

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Theatre

Traverse Theatre

Venue 15

09.00

16 – 28 Aug (not 22)

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 Darren Davidson, self-styled security consultant, penetration expert and convicted hacker, is giving a lecture in which he describes how easy it is to access personal information via the internet.  He tells us “the only freedom available today is to be anonymous” and thus avoid being under surveillance, being surveyed, coerced, or hacked.  He describes how he exacted revenge on someone who had simply pissed him off by his posts on a forum: but in the middle of his PowerPoint presentation, things start to go wrong and his own hidden personae are revealed.

 

I’m in two minds about the dichotomy in this piece: the transition between the two parts didn’t entirely convince me.  The lecture and the casual way he described totally ruining someone’s life chilled me even more than the discovery that these things could be done, but David’s disintegration after the inexplicable intrusions into his PowerPoint presentation and exposure of his alter ego L00la seemed less credible; the rapid ‘excuse’ for his behaviour – a disrupted and insecure childhood – somehow didn’t ring true.  I accept that an insecure life could make one create and cling to the imaginary friend who possesses all the longed-for personal attributes and power and is able to threaten mighty corporations and wreak havoc and destruction, but I was not convinced by the acting.

 

The plays are put on with only one day’s full rehearsal: I should like to see this piece again after more work had been done on the presentation…but maybe that’s me being hypercritical?  David’s assurance – even arrogance – and his failure to realise or convey any sorrow or regret for what he had done was disturbing, his motives for his actions seemed to me weak: but was this an illustration of the complete divorce from reality and overwhelming power kick that can suppress conscience or any feeling for one’s fellow-creatures because one is operating in virtual reality?

 

This was another sad commentary on people’s isolation, insecurity, and fear, and another chilling imagining of the future.  I don’t know how much of what was suggested is actually possible right now – but it confirms my deep suspicion of Facebook and other social media, and indeed the whole Internet phenomenon, convenient though so many aspects of it are!

 

Mary Woodward