Darknet – A Journey on the ‘Crooked Path’ M18PA Self-Study

One of my self-study goals is to begin to explore and integrate the ‘Crooked Path’ approach within my work as an artist. In my current role as an educational practitioner, I have been tasked with directing an undergraduate FMP showcase. I’ve selected Rose Lowenstein’s play ‘Darknet’ for this project as I feel it offers this particular group of performers-in-training an excellent platform to share their talents as multi-skilled actors. I’m also highly interested myself as an artist at the impact technology is having on us as a society and what a digitalized future may look like for us all. Darknet addresses both of these themes and is set in an imagined future where currency is void and the public deal in data. Every choice you make, any decision has a direct impact on your personal OctoScore and your ability to secure your future. Tech companies and big businesses rule and the future looks bleak.

There is enormous scope for this piece to be highly stylised and intensely physical. One of the first things that struck me about this play were the notes that preface the play:


‘Nothing about the play is ‘naturalistic’ I feel in this instance the best way of exploring this and achieving a non-naturalistic world is to explore physicality. I was really inspired at how the ‘otherworldly’ was transmitted in Frantic’s show ‘The Believers’ through stylised physicality informed by the horror film ‘MAMA’ and from working with ‘Strops’ In exploring this plays physicality I’d like to build up a physical vocabulary that performers can draw upon to create the world of the play.

I’ve also asked the designer that I am collaborating with to create a rotating frame that will allow the scenes to ‘jump from one to another’ I’m really looking forward to bringing this into the rehearsal room and exploring the impact that this has on the piece. Below is the first attempt at putting this frame together. The next stage will be to attach casters to the scaffold and to test moving it out.

Frame – Attempt 1

Conscious of treading the ‘Crooked Path’ and finding ways of fully exploring the terrain of this play with the company. I currently developing the first steps to a movement section for the piece. The section takes place towards the end of the first section of the play and in it, we are introduced to a group of characters called: The Hackdolz. They are a protest group who oppose the work of the tech giants Octopay – The company central to the play. The section is outlined in the stage directions below:


I’m really interested in the stage direction ‘A stream of impenetrable programming language appears on various screens’ I’ve always found the patterns illustrated in code and programming language really fascinating. It really is like a whole different language and dialect altogether. It’s also captivating to see data in its raw form. This has prompted me to look at examples of coding and programming. I searched online for examples of images and was really grabbed by the below image:


What really stood out for me was that within all of the jargon, symbols, odd letters and numbers, you can actually pick out distinct words e.g. extend, scroll and switch

I’m really interested as to how these can be utilised and incorporated to inform the movement sequence of The Hackdolz. So I’ve decided to write some lines of code, which I will give the performers playing The Hackdolz in rehearsals to create counts movement from. I’m interested as to how they will interpret this and whether they will draw on the words or the symbols in doing so. This is my first step on the ‘Crooked Path’ and I will post an update on the results from this.

Below is a few of examples of the code I have written to give performers:

<h5>c=‘scroll’ +e, l=q [c] offset (b.over) n=9e9 ;b=d.extend {onAfter :b} (f, this) f=n, s g= {} |b.speed| e=i == left’ : ‘Top , h=e. toLowerCase</h5>

<h5>^strik3 +dAm{a}ge = || (Four4, kd) nv+suspend.over//downupdownupdown//**pause\ 6=dn 1ncr3se {40}%//over//circle’,-+d}}

<h5>cmd.alt.&gt;minus&gt;key.chain’7’.{{screen}} pad.Shei1d{break} forward.back(up)stretch{inven.t} slash -Commandbreaks&gt; User.end.end’d’4||</h5>


4 thoughts on “Darknet – A Journey on the ‘Crooked Path’ M18PA Self-Study

  1. Hey Gav, I really enjoyed reading your blog! It struck me how little I know about the things you do in daily life related to theatre, even though we collaborated on the proposal. It’s very cool that you get to practice things we learned in M18PA right away, and that you have so much directing experience. I love the idea of connecting computer code & physicality! They seem worlds apart, but who knows where they might overlap.. Very curious to see/hear the results!


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