The first of The Nottingham New Theatre’s Autumn Season of digital theatre; ‘Hello World’ by Oliver Binns follows the development of the Artificial Intelligence ZeroOne as they gain consciousness, explore their world, and ultimately make their own introduction into ours.
Hypothesising on how a mind would develop without a body, ‘Hello World’ is both humorous and didactic whilst giving us an insight into the potential of non-human intelligence. As a piece of digital theatre put together over only a few weeks ‘Hello World’ is amazing, there has clearly been an incredible amount of hard work put in by the whole team and the show is definitely worth the watch!
Considering that this was rehearsed and filmed remotely the actors have done so well to create a unified dynamic and produce a really engaging piece
The two characters Zero, played by Mimi Clay, and One, played by Amelia Hackett, banter seamlessly and often speak in unison as they present us with their journey into consciousness. Both actors do a great job of creating personas that are simultaneously robotic and human, and their excitement for new discoveries is contagious (I have a whole new outlook on the Windows default background now). The conversational tone of their performances guides the audience through their evolution in a way that is part story-telling and part tutorial. Considering that this was rehearsed and filmed remotely the actors have done so well to create a unified dynamic and produce a really engaging piece.
Despite exploring complex topics and using technical language ‘Hello World’ puts everything into terms that are understandable, helped by some excellent graphics. The script is truly a credit to writer and director Oliver Binns; the dual personifications of an Artificial Intelligence’s voice and the flow of conversation between them is a unique take on robotic thought that I haven’t seen in film before. Equally Nicholas Langdon has done a great job of producing within such a challenging context and, alongside assistant director Abraham Botha, the pair have clearly succeeded as a production team.
Stylistically, ‘Hello World’ has a very clever and cohesive aesthetic mirroring the evolution of computers. As the AI evolves so do the graphics; we go from vintage coding in black and green (personally I was reminded of The Matrix), to pop-ups reminiscent of early versions of Windows, to a minimal white aesthetic with curved lines which felt like being inside an iPhone. Similarly over the course of the show, ZeroOne gradually gains more human ‘avatars’ as they develop themselves along with their understanding of the world.
From a technical point of view this is a very ambitious project and the result is a huge success. With video editing by James Appleby, graphics by Caetano Capurro, assisted by Skylar Turnnbull-Hurd, and Tobi Bambi as the Creative Assistant, the result is stylistically compelling and the backstage team should be incredibly proud of the show. The soundtrack by Anna Schooling was also great and really felt like it added both comedy and atmosphere to the piece.
The script is truly a credit to writer and director Oliver Binns; the dual personifications of an Artificial Intelligence’s voice and the flow of conversation between them is a unique take on robotic thought
All in all I cannot recommend ‘Hello World’ enough, it raises interesting questions about the definition of a ‘human’ and the possibilities surrounding a truly sentient non-human intelligence. Despite the topics it deals with, the show is light-hearted and entertaining. It’s success in humanising Artificial Intelligences has made me a little bit less afraid of computers taking over the world!
‘Hello World’ is available on The Nottingham New Theatre’s YouTube channel.
Featured image courtesy of Nottingham New Theatre . No changes made to this image.
In-article images courtesy of @01.nnt via instagram.com. No changes made to these images.
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