Technology in our lives has taken on an all pervasive and omnipresent quality. We are reflections of our digital selves, and our emotions and memories are mired in our devices and gadgets. Split Note Theatre’s Artificial explores the boundaries of people’s real and digital lives and in doing so, provides astute reflections on the extent of our digital slavery.
Dom, played very convincingly by Luke Culloty, is the suitably brooding and recently divorced protagonist. By day, Dom helps recommend Artificial Intelligence (AI) devices to his clients and helps set them up in their homes. By night, he replays over and over the memories from his ex-wife, much to the chagrin of his personal AI, Curtis.
Through a chance encounter with one of his clients – Eva – Dom’s life choices are thrown into turmoil, and he is faced with some hard choices and painful decisions. Demonstrating a great stage presence, Maja Laskowska plays Eva – both vulnerable and defiant, in tune with the demands of her character arc. The original score by Issy Matheson must also be mentioned for its beautiful melody.
The overall pace of the first half of the show is, however, slow. Audiences have read the blurb and decided to come watch this, and it takes too long to get to the climax. Some of the scene changes are a bit abrupt too, especially the ones that just follow an argument between two people.
Finally, I don’t know about you, but no AI I have encountered has such flawless diction, clever banter and spot-on judgement. There isn’t an indication as to the year in which this show is set, but it takes more than a sensible stretch of the imagination to stomach the intelligence of Dom’s AI.
Overall, there is a lot of potential here, from most of the actors as well as the off-stage production crew. The script could be improved on, but I will definitely keep my ears pricked for other productions coming from the same team.