Stef Smith's play Girl in the Machine is a dystopian drama exploring our potential digital future, and what it might mean for 'life' as we know it. The play was first performed at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, on 5 April 2017.
The play is set 'not too far into the future', in a house belonging to corporate lawyer Polly and her husband, Owen. Polly has recently been promoted, and spends most of her time working, so Owen presents her with a new gadget, 'Black Box', to help her relax. Black Box is a headset that offers virtual reality experiences that are both seductive and addictive, communicating by spoken voice. As Polly slides inexorably into digital dependency, it becomes apparent that, beyond the isolation of this apartment, people are rising up in protest at the new technology and its increasing hold over human life. Polly and Owen are forced to question whether their definitions of reality and freedom are the same.
The premiere production was directed by Orla O’Loughlin and designed by Neil Warmington. It was performed by Michael Dylan as Owen, Rosalind Sydney as Polly and Victoria Liddelle as the voice of Black Box.