Girl in the Machine at Riverside Theatres
Wildly in love, Polly and Owen have successful careers and feel ready to take on the world, until a new form of wearable technology, equally seductive and dangerous, threatens to destroy it all. This “Black Box” drives a wedge between them. The line between the real and the virtual rapidly dissipates, and as the population begins to rebel, Polly and Owen are forced to question whether their definitions of reality and freedom are the same.
Rosie spoke with performer Chantelle Jamieson about the future of technology and why this show couldn't have come at a better time. Read the full interview below:
Girl in the Machine is a play about love and being human that entertains our present-day unease about the intrusiveness of technology. What was it about this work that drew you to it, and how do you think audiences will respond to the work?
I was drawn to the plays exploration of a relationship under stress, it’s the story of two people trying to stay together despite the isolation and escape that technology provides. It also was a great opportunity to work with our director Claudia Barrie again- who has a fearless, gutsy approach to theatre that makes her work really exciting. And I haven’t worked with Brandon before, but I love watching him onstage, so I was super excited to get to work with him.
The show has been compared to the incredibly popular Netflix show Black Mirror, which offers a dark insight into a world ruled by technology. How do you think Girl in the Machine comments on these fears we have? Do you think we are headed in the wrong direction with technology?
Stef Smith (the playwright of Girl in the machine) has definitely dived right in at the dark end of the tech debate. The tech device in the play, Black Box, makes itself vital to its users and quickly becomes a crutch. It’s quite a harsh look at the addictive side of our relationship with tech. I think we’re headed in a direction with tech that’s unstoppable- that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I like that I can talk to my devices and they make my life easier, but I’m also aware of what we’ve given up in exchange for that.
Girl in the Machine is set 'not too far into the future' - how far away do you think we are from the world described in the play?
The world of Girl in the Machine isn’t too far away- we have devices that are very intelligent and cater to our needs, google is super smart about putting together all the clues in our search history - however we’re yet to see anything that seems as particularly nefarious as the device in this play.
Girl in the Machine has a cast of only two, with you performing alongside Logie award winner Brandon McClelland. What has the dynamic been like working on this show together, and how does the story benefit from such a small cast?
Brandon is such a gifted actor, he has a wonderful sense of truth and play that is an utter joy to work opposite. Being that there are only two of us in the play, it means you need to develop a strong level of trust between you and I think we’ve been really fortunate to gel in that sense. This is the story of a relationship between two people that the outer world is pulling apart, by only having the two actors onstage, it underlines what’s at stake- their one person in the world, is their world.
Why is this the right time to bring Girl in the Machine to the stage? What do you hope to achieve with this work?
It’s a play about being isolated and alone, even within a relationship- I think it’s always the right time to put a play like that onstage. And if we can achieve anything, it would be to cut through the sci-fi type genre and tell a story about humans.
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS:
Favourite production you have ever seen?
Robert Lepage’s Lipsynch
You’re getting on a plane tomorrow and you can go anywhere in the world, where do you go?
Dream show to perform in?
Plays or musicals?
A hobby you have beyond the theatre?
Does playing Nintendo count?
What’s next for you after this show?
I’m doing a show at the Seymour Center, but hopefully I’ll squeeze in a holiday first.
Girl in the Machine opens at the Riverside Theatres in Parramatta on June 20, 2019. You can buy tickets here.