“A bit of augmentation does not make you a flipping robot”
Stacey Gregg’s Override is the only one of the plays in Watford Palace’s Ideal
World season, designed to question the impact of the rise of technology on
humanity, to venture into the realms of what could be loosely described as sci-fi.
Mark and Violet live in a near-future world where ‘augmentation’ is the norm to
eradicate human disabilities and imperfections but when she discovers she is
pregnant, they opt out of this society and move to a rural backwater in order
to have a completely natural birth free from interference.
But in a world where this has become commonplace, it isn’t so easy to fully disconnect
and when Violet reveals that she underwent a procedure as a child, the couple
are forced to confront what it really means to step off the grid. Gregg
explores this with pressing and pertinent questions – what does it mean to be
normal? can one be augmented and yet still possess a true sense of self? what level
of intervention is acceptable, especially in cases of disability? And pleasingly
she doesn’t provide easy answers either.
She pushes her thesis to the extreme, Geoffrey Breton’s keen jogger Mark is
adamant about the need to abandon everything in order to maintain their
perfectly conceived new world, his nervy intensity both moving and disturbing
in the totality of his vision. And Matti Houghton’s irrepressible stage
presence as Violet makes a convincing case for a more ambiguous case,
suggesting that there might be some good in technological intervention. Though
how far is too far? Colin Grenfell’s excellent lighting design says more than
words ever could in the play’s dénouement, Selina Cartmell’s direction excellently
playing off our hearts and against our heads.
Running time: 70 minutes (without interval)
Booking until 19th October in rep
Labels: Geoffrey Breton, Matti Houghton, Stacey Gregg