Imagine a world where you can experience all of the great things that life has to offer – from the confines and safety of your own “pod.”
That’s the vision being created live on stage in Verisimilitude at the 2022 Vancouver Fringe Festival by Richmond-based Direct Theatre Collective.
From the company that brought you the challenging and award-winning 2018 Fringe production Hysteria, Verisimilitude offers up a new dystopia which promises to blend “humour with horror.”
Opening Sept. 8 and running to Sept. 18 at the Waterfront Theatre Mainstage, the production – written by Richmond resident Jill Raymond with direction by Isa Sanchez - follows Eve (played by Raymond) who has been integrated into EPITOME’s Safe Space program, which was developed to allow humans to live their lives entirely in the digital realm, protected from the threats of the outside world.
It’s a post-truth world, “raging with war, social unrest, global warming, disease and danger around every corner,” according to its billing.
It’s also a world where you can be anywhere, see anyone, and experience anything at the click of a button, all from the safety of your own home where you are totally alone.
Verisimilitude: a virtual world in your home
“The work is informed by what we’ve all been experiencing during the pandemic, even though it’s not really about the pandemic,” explained Raymond, adding that the production relies a lot on technology, given its subject matter.
“The main character is able to have conversations with people through virtual reality calls and she travels all around the world from the safety of her pod (small apartment).
“In this world, humans can do everything they want within their wildest dreams. Through video elements, we see her doing a dance class or going to Paris or meeting up with friends.
“We do play around with timelines and memories, so you’re left guessing a little until the end.”
Raymond said the concept dawned on her back 2020, “when we were being told to stay in our homes and do everything online.”
“I was going through therapy at the time and was thinking a lot about relationships and our perceptions of what other people are thinking.
“If we lived in a world where we never really saw each other, how do we know if the other people are even real? Are those relationships real? What constitutes real?
“Imagine the effects on the planet if we stopped moving around the world?”
New show a world (almost) away from #MeToo-inspired Hysteria
Verisimilitude, acknowledged Raymond, is far removed from Direct Theatre’s #MeToo-inspired Hysteria, where an all-female cast wowed critics with its comedy and brutal honesty.
“(Verisimilitude) lives in the same realms, but it is quite different; there is no war of the sexes in this one,” laughed Raymond.
“As a writer, I’ve spent the last four or five years on Hysteria. That has not finished, I loved it, but we felt the need to explore new branches on the tree, so to speak.
“It also feels nice to show that we’re not just a one trick pony.”
For show times and tickets, go to Vancouverfringe.com or call 778-918-8273