The Day The Internet Died
The Day the Internet Died by Ian McWethy & Jason Pizzarello is a pastiche of vignettes highlighting the various “crises” that internet-dependent people would experience if they lost their virtual umbilical cords.
There are some clever scenes and lines in this play, with precision required to make the punchlines land, and the young cast of Wings2Fly Theatre did a stellar job.
From the opening moments as a throng of journalists and citizens surround their mayor in a powerful and believable cacophony of shrieking demands and questions, the mayor (Sophie March) holds court at her lectern with power and poise. As she breaks the news that the internet will be out for about a week, the townsfolk begrudgingly disperse to go about their daily lives in an IRL (in real life) manner.
There are memorable moments right from the outset as one young woman sitting on a bench reading a long-forgotten book is interrupted by another who is getting her Instagram fix by interrupting friends to show them pictures of her daily life in person. Much hilarity ensues, especially when the first friend betrays her disinterest, prompting the social butterfly to raise her hand to “block” her indifferent friend.
Other scenes follow, in a retail store (add these to my cart please), library (a librarian is treated like Siri), post office (confusion over the delay of sending ’email’ physically), etc.
This young cast had spent a week together in intensive rehearsals, directed by Michelle Nightingale, and emerged with production that was a delight to watch.
Of particular note was how the cast grasped the art of timing. In a play that requires razor sharp precision, punchlines were delivered strongly, and on cue, igniting laughter from the audience.
It was also heartening to hear a cast of actors able to project, even if some projected at a level suitable for a much larger auditorium. Nevertheless, this is a skill that will serve them and their audiences well for many years to come.
While every actor had their moment, Georgia Whalan, Katelyn Monaghan, Gracie Manifold, and Jasmyn Setchell all rose to their occasions with particular flair and, at times, exasperation, as their characters navigated their disconnected world.
Finally, the closing seen in which our hitherto, temporarily independent townsfolk becoming once again bathed in the blue light of their screens, was a poignant way to underline the serious points for reflection delivered throughout this revue-style play.
This should prove to be a memorable week for all involved; cast and audience alike.