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ENTERTAINMENT: A life in the shadows
Writer Adam Cass’s 2007 play I Love You Bro was an affecting, complex look at just how easy it is to lose sight of what’s real in our increasingly online world. Based on true events, the one-man show centred on a 14-year-old boy who spun a web of lies on the internet, with disastrous results.
Cass once again explores the dark side of a life lived online in his latest play Roam, premiering at Red Stitch this month. However, he happily refutes any suggestion he’s retreading the same ground.
“I’ve actually written probably four or five plays that have the online realm as a fairly significant part. I don’t think that necessarily means I’m making works that are similar…I think of the internet as like a continent, and it’s a continent I base a lot of my works in,” Cass told the Star Observer.
“I feel like everything that’s happening online is still largely unexplored, because it’s changing so fast. There are so many consequences and impacts the internet has on our lives. I find it really exciting to explore this new territory.”
Roam’s central character is Johnny (Tim Potter), a young man who retreats into a world of social media, porn and online gaming to soothe the pain as his relationship with his girlfriend flounders. When he meets a young Eastern European girl in a chat room, the seemingly harmless fun he’s having while locked at his computer threatens to spill out into the real world.
“Johnny’s not doing it deliberately, but it’s a gradual drift in his life towards spending more time online. When we meet him in the play, he’s really started to fall through this rabbit hole of the internet, as is happening to a lot of people in our real lives.”
In researching the play, Cass spent much time online, trawling the seedier areas of the internet – “the hidden places we might visit but wouldn’t ever tell anyone about,” he said.
For now, though, Cass’s work is done – director Gary Abrahams is at the helm for Roam’s world premiere, instructing a capable cast of Red Stitch ensemble members.
“Generally when I write something that I don’t direct myself, I don’t like going into the rehearsal room. It feels like the director is compromised – when I am in the room, I see actors looking to me to seek my opinion and second-guessing the director,” Cass explained.
“I just don’t like putting that second point of focus in the room, so I’m really happy to just let them go and see what happens. It’s a letting go process, but it’s one I’m happy to do.”
INFO: Roam, Red Stitch Theatre, October 11-November 9. www.redstitch.net