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Golden Age Theatre Company – Transhuman | Review

Golden Age Theatre Company - TranshumanWhat exactly does immortality mean aside from never having one’s own funeral? There’s a lot of detail in Transhuman, which more than sufficiently answers that question, as well as many others about how precisely Thomasin Lockwood’s unnamed character would ‘live on’ as it were. Some queries remain, as is only reasonable after a monologue done and dusted in just over half an hour.

While there is some brief acknowledgement of legal constraints, for instance, it remains unclear what the criteria is to qualify for continuing to exist in digital form, aside from having the money to do so. Would the companies offering such services want to be responsible for the most narcissistic and undesirable personalities, surely elbowing one another out of the way to get to the front of the queue, continuing to exist forever?

Given the details provided in this play, it is unlikely that a digital person (if that’s what such beings are called) would commit crimes and therefore be liable to punishment under a digital criminal justice system: when the narrator has an initial meeting with the hologram of someone whose funeral she had previously attended, her friend seemed to have his imperfections removed. It is of little surprise that religionists objected to the programme – it does fundamentally change the concept of ending up in either Heaven or Hell.

This will all come across to some as equally ridiculous as a belief in the afterlife. I am, perhaps, being rather generous, but it is the sort of thing that does bear thinking about in a world undergoing a global pandemic at the time of writing – what if there was a way of continuing to interact with people beyond the grave? And I don’t mean the use of Ouija boards. It’s a topic that some shudder away from, quite understandably, but for those willing to stay the course, this brief play offers an account of an experience that, while steeped in the realms of science fiction, considers various objections to continuing to live even after one’s body has died (in her case, from cancer).

There’s no set to speak of, with the narrator sat on a couch speaking directly to the camera for the duration of the performance. She remains poised and never overemotional – some of this, I suspect, has something to do with the character’s ability to do many of the things she used to do as a fully-bodied human (quite how she manages to do this would be, alas, giving too much away). I remain unconvinced that becoming transhuman is something I’d like to go for if the opportunity were to present itself. Nonetheless, this is a thoughtful production – and an easier one to follow than I had expected.

3 Star Review

Review by Chris Omaweng

Given the chance, would you choose to be immortal? To expand your mind beyond the boundaries of human experience?

What would it feel like to upload your consciousness to the cloud? Would you yearn for interaction with the physical world?

Transhuman explores issues of mortality, identity and personality – challenging our notions of what it means to be human.

Written and Directed by Ian Dixon Potter
Performed by Thomasin Lockwood
Original music composed and performed by Neil Thompson
Filmed by Ian Dixon Potter
Edited by Howard White



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