I Wish I Was Lonely, theatre review: 'in this interactive show, your mobile phone is crucial'
Battersea Arts Centre, London
“Make sure your phones are not on silent.” Not something you hear often in the theatre - but in Hannah Jane Walker and Chris Thorpe’s interactive show, your mobile is crucial. We leave voicemails for strangers we’re sitting next to; the evening is soundtracked by bleeps as texts, tweets and calls trickle through.
Thorpe and Walker explore - with sly but gentle humour - the disconnect all this endless noisy connectedness actually brings about. If you can always reach someone, you never really miss them. They poetically draw swift, believable illustrations: the siblings who post clips of Ghostbusters on Facebook but can’t talk about their dead dad; texting a partner to say 'we've had a miscarriage'.
While at times they overstate the case - many of us still surely do still make space for phone-off “aloneness” - they also acknowledge it’s not all negative. Audience members (myself included) are rung by Thorpe, drawn into scenes revealing the benefit of hearing a human voice at the touch of a button. But their central tenet - that smartphones have changed the way we navigate the world, and our relationships - is undoubtedly true.
A subtly provocative investigation that lingers in the mind.
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