My first theatre experience…Killology, the compelling tale of virtual torture.

I am not a regular theatre-goer. Personally I don’t know many students that are.  I always thought that going to theatre was an activity exclusively for the middle class, the middle aged and those with a steady stream of disposable income.

That’s why, up until now, I had never really entertained the idea of going to the theatre as a regular entertainment option. Research has previously shown that one of the main barriers to the younger population attending the theatre is cost. However, I was little less than ecstatic to be told that two tickets to the play would cost a grand total of… £12!

The Sherman Theatre has clearly recognised the importance of breaking down these barriers to ensure that the theatre and the cultural arts are accessible to all age and income groups. Indeed, if you are simply 25 or under you will receive 50% off all ticket prices – great for the poor students among us! This initiative means that many more people can afford to consider going to the theatre as a regular form of entertainment (much like a trip to the cinema is) rather than an occasional luxury.

The Sherman theatre also runs a project called The Sherman 5 which aims to diversify the theatres audience, by offering a free membership to those from disadvantaged communities, in addition to those who may face barriers and disadvantages such as a disability, who wouldn’t ordinarily have access to a theatre.

With all that in mind, I encourage you stop binge watching the latest series on Netflix and indulge in an evening of creativity and culture, within the intimate sphere of theatre!

Anyway, onto Killology… a compelling tale of virtual torture.

Killology is a cleverly written play by the widely respected play writer, Gary Owen, in which he addresses new technologies, commercial ethics, fatherhood and materialism – 21st century themes to which we can all relate. The plot revolves around a controversial new gaming experience ‘Killology’, which has been created by Paul, an extremely wealthy entrepreneur who is one of the three characters in the play. Players of Killology are rewarded for torturing victims in intricately vicious ways, scoring points for “creativity”. It sounds like a sick game but Paul is actually marketing it as a deeply moral experience. For example, the player will lose points if they look away from the screen while inflicting torturous pain. Without wanting to give too much away things take a gloomy and tragic turn when this virtual torture inspires real-life atrocities.

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Photo Credit: Mark Douet

The set, carefully created by Gary McCann looked like a miserable and desolated industrial wasteland, with long black wires hanging from the ceiling, the atmospheric soft lighting mimicking the flickering glow of a computer screen.

The play primarily consists of a series of brilliantly composed monologues and duologues in which the three characters (Alan and Davey – a father and son, and Paul, the puffed up entrepreneur) gradually reveal their stories. Very quickly you are drawn into the characters’ worlds, and find yourself wanting to know more about these people, how they are linked to each other and how they have ended up in the situation we find them.

Here’s a sneak peak of what you can expect should you go to see the play.

How do I rate my theatre experience? One-word-amazing! Not only was it incredible value for money but it was clever and thought provoking.  Within the intimate sphere of the theatre I felt really connected with the characters, something you just can’t get from sitting in front of a television screen. That considered, I am a total theatre convert and am looking forward to my next visit to the Sherman Theatre.

Killology is no longer showing at the Sherman Theatre, but if you happen to be around London in the next few weeks you can still catch the play at The Royal Court London Theatre, from the 25th May – 24th June. To find out more click here.

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