[Air-L] Jennifer Haley's The Nether / VR vs RLd

Alison Powell a.powell at lse.ac.uk
Fri Apr 15 03:50:21 PDT 2016

Hi Jill,

I watched it when it was first staged in London last year (or the year
before??), and wanted my students to read the script as it was so
nuanced and interesting. Thanks for sharing and for reminding me of how
much I liked the play. The London staging was amazing as well, with a
set of stages within stages that the actors moved in between.

I found it moving, sad, but also extremely thought-provoking.

Look forward to hearing your responses after you see it staged.



On 15/04/2016 11:47, Jill Walker Rettberg wrote:
> Have any of you watched or read Jennifer Haley’s play The Nether?
> It’s being played all over the world (Washington, Philadelphia, Munich and Bergen right now, LA, NYC and London a few months ago, no doubt elsewhere too) and is about the relationship between virtual worlds and RL, set in a near future where the world is horrible (no trees etc) and a lot of people spend most of their time in a VR world.
> I found a PDF of the manuscript here. It’s a fast read.
> http://www.playsandplayers.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/THE-NETHER-8.9.11.pdf
> Reading reviews and the blurb I first thought it was going to be just another “virtual worlds are sick pornographic dens of pedophilia and nothing else) but that as I read the manuscript I found really quite fascinating. The NY Times review emphasises “the dark side of the web” and certainly the pedophilia thing is strongly emphasised in the marketing of the play. Reading the manuscript through to the end I don’t have that takeaway. (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/25/theater/review-jennifer-haleys-the-nether-explores-the-dark-side-of-the-web.html?_r=0)
> I’d love to hear what others think about it - it gets SO much more interesting towards the end but I’m a bit loathe to give spoilers.
> The reviews I’ve read all seem to fall into the “virtual is bad” trap, which is odd given the last third of the play. Of course, I haven’t yet seen it on stage. It’s premiering here in Bergen tomorrow and I’ve been invited to give a talk about VR at the theatre at noon tomorrow, and they gave me tickets to the dress rehearsal tonight - will be interesting to see how they slant it.
> Jill
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Dr Alison Powell
Assistant Professor
Director of MSc Media and Communication (Data & Society)
London School of Economics
Tower 3, 701.J, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE
a.powell at lse.ac.uk
Twitter: @a_b_powell

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