It’s a common enough anxiety, meeting up for real after developing an online love interest. What makes a meeting like this really challenging is the degrees of fiction manufactured along the way.
This fabulous two-hander is a modern tragedy written by Peta Brady. Status Anxiety is also a dueling internet chat room, rich with wordplay, rapier wit, sexual themes, lies and deception. The play opens with a status update. We observe as Adam (Peta Brady), the online persona of a woman pretending to be a man woos “his” love interest Coral (Danielle Carter) . We follow their enthusiastic exchanges, in-jokes about murder mystery novels, repartee about a shared passion for death poems, reflections on friendship. When Coral suggests they meet, the cracks begin to appear in their perfect virtual match.
They decide to meet in Bewtopia, a virtual world where their fantasies can run amok, where their intimacies are played out as intellectual musings, erotic postings interposed with uncertain inner monologues. This chat room fare is riveting, a litany of fictional poses, gendered posturing and elegant sexually charged prose with occasional coarseness. These inner reflections reveal each of the characters flaws and deepest fears.
It makes for fabulous theatre as we sit by, voyeuristic, omniscient, hovering as their palpable and idyllic romantic liaison sours and Eden, in the guise of Bewtopia, becomes a warzone.
Pete Goodwin’s soundtrack is evocative. Director, Sue Jones brilliantly conceives these postings as choreography, turning chair bound internet chat into a chorus line of characters.
By Peta Brady. Director: Sue Jones. Performed by Peta Brady and Danielle Carter. Sound: Pete Goodwin. Lighting: Bec Etchell. Design: Belinda Wiltshire/Nick Casey. Dramaturg: Catherine Hill. La Mama (Vic) Sept 23 – Oct 10.