The Nether by Jennifer Haley, winner of the 2012 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, is both a serpentine crime drama and a haunting sci-fi thriller.
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I’ve read the studies. No one has been able to draw a conclusive correlation between virtual behaviour and behaviour in-world.
The Nether is a virtual wonderland that provides total sensory immersion. Just log in, choose an identity and indulge your every desire. But when a young detective uncovers a disturbing brand of entertainment, she triggers an interrogation into the darkest corners of the imagination.
Winner of the 2012 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, The Nether is both a serpentine crime drama and haunting sci-fi thriller that explores the consequences of living out our private dreams.
Jennifer Haley’s The Nether received its UK premiere in July 2014 at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in a co-production with Headlong.
This is mind-bending, it's ingenious and it's ethically challenging... A knotty, important and thought-provoking disputation about virtual reality and moral policing... Structured quite brilliantly, like a hall of mirrors.
[A] deeply disturbing and very responsibly provocative play... Shaped, poetic restraint and eloquent economy.
Disturbing... and dramatically satisfying... The internet has undoubtedly changed us as a species, and The Nether asks big questions about how we go forward.
A thought-provoking, deeply disconcerting success. It is a piece that taps into one of the most urgent and disturbing issues of our times... This is a haunting and highly original modern fairy-tale that combines creepy enchantment with a whiff of sulphur."
This is a compelling, profoundly disturbing 80 minutes of theatre... At the play's end, the world - both real and virtual - simply doesn't look quite the same.
Haley's play at first challenges us to think the unthinkable, then almost seduces us into it. It is the very best kind of uncomfortable viewing.