John Szablewski Previews

First Look: ‘The Nether’ at Road Less Traveled Theatre

The Internet. A tool that is both a gift and a curse. In recent times we as consumers have been very keen on utilizing the internet for everything. Shopping, communication, and maintaining relationships. The information super high way is both a wonderful thing to have at our fingertips, and it is also incredibly scary if not used properly. Is the internet making our quality of life better? Are we as a society more capable, having this power at our disposal? Could our society be crumbling under us because of this necessary evil we have integrated into our everyday culture? These are a few of the topics explored in Jennifer Haley’s play “The Nether”, opening on January 19, at Road Less Traveled Theatre.

“It is like this play was taken from a CSI episode,” says Katie Mallinson, the director of the production, “when I first read it a few years ago I loved it. I found it to be beautifully haunting. It is challenging material.”

“The Nether” is a dystopian story where the internet has become a virtual reality, and people live within this reality. “The characters interact in this virtual world, and the audience is presented with a story that asks, how do we regulate the virtual happenings on the internet,” says Mallinson.

With Net Neutrality being a hot topic issue in the News, this show is sure to be relatable to the audiences. “It takes place in the not so distant future, and the audience will find that it is a different conversation piece. I hope that they are able to discuss the perspective that this story presents,” says Mallinson. One of the big questions being, who is in control?

While the story takes place in virtual reality, Mallinson says that the characters are relatable and different. “I was surprised about the compassion that I felt in the characters, says Mallinson, “There is no ‘bad guy’ in this show. There is dark and light parts in each of the characters.”

Mallinson says that this process of rehearsing for this show has brought forth many perspectives, and has started many conversations with the cast about their thoughts on the content and technology. “There was an article in “The Atlantic” about smartphones ruining a generation, and I found it to be pretty interesting. Young adults and children are seeing the world filtered to them through screens and are constantly connected to the web. I remember life before I had a smartphone, now I feel nervous if I don’t have it by me to check it,” laughs Mallinson, “I think it is important that we use technology for good, and that we don’t use it to isolate people.”

Mallinson says that the show will be a very enjoyably hour and twenty minutes. “This plays shows us right now. It can happen anywhere, at anytime.”

“The Nether” opens on January 19 and runs until February 11, 2018 at Road Less Traveled Theatre. For more information, click here.

Promotional Consideration Paid For By The Theatre Alliance Of Buffalo.