Potential Difference have their world première of Darknet, a new play by Rose Lewenstein, at Southwark Playhouse with previews from 14th April, 2016 and running through to 7th May 2016. Russell Bender directs Robin Berry as Steve/Mitch, Greer Dale-Foulkes as Candy, Jim English as Jamie, Naveed Khan as Gary/John, Ella McLoughlin as Kyla, Gyuri Sarossy as Allen, and Rosie Thomson as Stacey.
Welcome to Octopus Inc., the internet giant that allows users to exchange personal data for currency. But not everyone is prepared to sacrifice their privacy for an easier life. A teenager subverts the system in an attempt to save her mother. A visionary tech exec takes shortcuts to get ahead. A convicted cyber criminal chooses between two kinds of freedom.
Darknet navigates the hyperlinked world of data transparency and the uncharted deep web, uncovering the things we share and the places we hide. “With new innovation comes fear of the unknown.” The production has been developed with input from top academics, journalists and specialists working in technology, cyber security and online behaviour. Writer Rose Lewenstein and director Russell Bender have worked on Darknet together over the past three years. Their organic relationship means they work together closely from the outset with each stage of research, writing and development workshops informing the next.
Robin Berry who plays Steve and Mitch (and others) recently took time out to answer a few questions about the production.
Can you tell us about the Darknet audition process?
I was very lucky with Darknet. I’d worked with our director Russell Bender on an R&D project for another show last year and based on the work we did he invited me back to do the R&D for Darknet and then offered me a part in the show. It doesn’t often happen like that, there is usually always a meeting or something so to be offered the job without one was great!
What have rehearsals been like?
We’ve still got a fair bit of work to do but rehearsals so far have been great. Really nice balance of scene work and devising. There is a lot of movement in the piece most of which we’ve created during rehearsals which means you feel much more ownership of the show.
You’re playing several parts in this production. Can you tell us about some of the characters?
I play quite a wide variety of characters from both sides of the pond and without giving away to much you’ll meet stressed dad Steve, estate drug dealer Mitch and quite a few others. I love playing lots of parts, it’s a skill to be able to drop in and out of a show as different characters without being jarring for the audience.
How easy/hard is it to get into multiple roles in a production?
Despite some characters only having brief appearances you still have to make them feel at home in the world and the scene. Some parts you slip into easier than others but they all get there eventually… fingers crossed.
What is at the heart of the story in Darknet?
There’s a lot in there. For me it’s about awareness. Not just awareness online but awareness in relationships, of yourself and life in general. Awareness of other people’s circumstances. We live a blinkered life nowadays. Always staring at phones or screens. You miss a lot living like that.
What can you tell us about the Cast and Creative Team?
Russell our director is a legend and is always calm and focused whatever madness maybe happening on stage. He’s had to have a computer-like brain to organise the show.
Why should everyone get along to see Darknet?
Obviously it’s a great story but it’s also a real eye opener as to how our information online is used by companies. It’s been an educational process for me.
Robin Berry plays Steve/Mitch/others. His theatre credits include Dagestan (Penned In The Margins), The Elephant Man (South East Asia Tour), One Man Two Guvnors (National Theatre). His film & TV credits include Jungle Book: Origins, Urban Hymn, Arthur & Merlin, Clash of the Titans, Descent 2, Silent Witness and Law & Order UK.
Potential Difference presents Darknet
by Rose Lewenstein
Director Russell Bender
Designer Mila Sanders
Lighting Designer Katharine Williams
Sound Designer Edward Lewis
Video Designer Benjamin Walden
Creative Technologist Henry Garner
Allen – Gyuri Sarossy
Gary/John/others – Naveed Khan
Kyla – Ella McLoughlin
Steve/Mitch/others – Robin Berry
Jamie – Jim English
Stacey/others – Rosie Thomson
Candy/others – Greer Dale-Foulkes
77-85 Newington Causeway, London, SE1 6BD