Sussex Playwrights Reviews
Brighton Horrorfest 2019
Written and performed by Emily Carding
Directed by Dominique Gerrard
Winner of the Fringe Review Outstanding Theatre Award (Brighton Fringe 2019).
‘one of the UK’s leading Shakespearian actors’ – The Stage
Earth, the far future – and humanity has finally succeeded in wiping itself out. Its successors, the android Guardians, are at work. Humanity 2.0 is under construction, and we’re the evidence it’s going quite well.
Emily Carding as Guardian Ariel, a poised, precise figure in turquoise plus ethereal makeup, eyes black pinpoints in blue-shadowed white, welcomes us to our lessons.
This artificial intelligence, a creature charged with the care of precious if problematic young life, is programmed with the entire works of Shakespeare as its guidebook to the human soul.
With crystal clear delivery, all measured oddness and beatific white gaze, every second, every move is choreographed and precisely executed.
Assured technical support delivers a complete and subtle soundtrack of nature, computer sounds and voice fragments. As the light changes colour and quality, Ariel shifts and rearranges body components and voice samples, into young Juliet, blokey Henry and extreme Richard, all fluidly accessed moment by moment.
Like all experiments, some don’t go according to plan. There are moments of humour in the eeriness; the AIs can’t have been paying attention to Romeo and Juliet, as they completely fail to get adolescence. And shocks too, achieved by swiftly flipping lighting and performance. We’re left with our own ‘cry God for England’ moment, a call to action in our own fight for survival.
The piece is versatile; it could be performed in a huge venue with projections on screens, headmic and video closeups – or in the tiniest most claustrophobic venue, even one to one. Up close, Carding’s favoured mode, it’s captivating, an intensely personal and mesmerising experience.
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