Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Privacy at the Donmar Warehouse

Last Friday the husband and I hotfooted it over to the Donmar Warehouse to watch the rather controversial new play Privacy by James Graham. Controversial as it challenges the world's addiction to the internet, and because for once the audience were encouraged to keep their phones on and active, the actor's bug bear in a normal theatrical environment. A novel idea weaved into the action, amusing the audience whilst illustrating the case in question. The unrelenting power of the internet.

Privacy explores today's addiction to the Internet and social media. All I can say is thank goodness I did my growing up when I wasn't being scrutinised or published on a world wide platform.

There is not much that is a big surprise here, we all know understand the implications of  but choose to bury them deep in our subconscious. Social Media has become a powerful medium for sharing information, promoting yourself and enjoyment. Are you going to stop using these platforms? Though you should be aware that not only google but governments, security forces know where you are, how long you've been there and where you are going. One simple word entered into a search engine will reveal your thoughts, ideas and whereabouts. The Tesco clubcard led the way to stores analysing what you buy and thereby compiling a profile on each and everyone of us. Big Brother is a reality, Aldous Huxley predicted the way our society would eventually turn out with his celebrated novel Brave New World published in 1932, I remember reading it for English O-Level and thinking this could never be. However here we are in 2014 and that world is very much present all around us.

The play forces the audience to face the facts whether we like them or not, the style of the piece, directed by the marvellous Josie Rourke, is high energy, in your face with a big dollop of humour chucked into the heady mix.

This is an important play in these times where each detail of our lives is recorded and duly noted then used to compile our identities. I had the most frightening realisation that the future is even bleaker for Matilda, in a world where she will communicating mostly online where she'll be exposed to all manner of potential harm we will struggle to grasp.

The questions thrown up by this production lead to much debate in our household, though the bottom line is anyone really prepared to give up the internet from shopping to socialising to discovering any minute piece of insignificant information? No I know I wouldn't want to relinquish the convenience of it, my own livelihood depends on it.

It is a sellout show though I understand that standing tickets are being released - check the website for more details. Do all you can to see this vital production before it disappears into cybersphere...you'll be in for a ride!

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