The Nether, by American writer Jennifer Haley explores and questions the human associations and actions in a realm of virtual reality. Are there boundaries to what you can and can't do there? Is everything in a virtual world acceptable and is that considered a release for the internal emotions that cannot be displayed in the real world as they would it considered unethical?
Danielle Catanzariti as Iris in The Nether Photo credit: Ross Waldron
The play is set as an investigation by a detective. The investigation is about a virtual realm run by someone called Papa, where crimes are conducted against young children. The various aspects of this realm slowly unfold in this 90 minute thriller drama engaging the audience with riveting performances. Danielle Catanzariti (plays Iris) captivates the audience in her act as a sweet and innocent nine year old who has an important part to play in the realm of the virtual reality, The Hideaway.
Supported by strong performances by Kim Knuckey (who plays Sims/Papa), Alan Faulkner (who plays Doyle), Alex Snow (who plays Mr. Woodnut) and Katie Fitchett (who plays Detective Morris), the drama questions the very boundary of the real and virtual world. The characters present their point of view and the viewers are left in a conundrum. The detective seems unperturbed by the facts presented by Mr Sims, however plausible it sounds. She (Detective Morris) claims that he (Papa) is running a virtual world called The Hideaway and uses it for crimes against children. Does it make it right because you know it is virtual reality? Is a crime in a virtual world justified because it causes no harm in the real world? The Nether lets the audience grapple with this concept.
Alec Snow as Mr.Woodnut in The Nether Photo credit: Ross Waldron
The Nether's set designer Pip Runciman has created a set that depicts a futuristic investigation room and also doubles up as a virtual reality hideaway house. The drama constantly shifts between the two and lets the audience discover the actors' lives and connections in both the realms.
Danielle Catanzariti and Alec Snow in The Nether Photo credit: Ross Waldron