Edinburgh Fringe 2013
A two person show in which the audience play a crucial role, this is a piece that examines the impact of global, digital communications on our lives and relationships. Chris Thorpe and Hannah Walker have developed a show that communicates through spoken word, text, and mobile phone yet prods the audience with a human touch.
ReviewThe chairs are spread higgledy-piggledy in the space as we enter the studio at Out of the Blue Drill Hall, Forest Fringe’s home now Assembly has taken over the former site of the Forest Café. We have all written our mobile numbers on small cards and hand them to Hannah as we make our way in. This is going to be interactive. Some of us don’t have phones, but we’re assured it won’t be a problem. During the next hour, all of our focus will be put on communication – how we use technology, how we are connected, and the diminishing distance between us as we wrap ourselves in more and more invisible, digital threads. I Wish I Was Lonely asks us how we use our time and how we relate to one another and suggests that, in this fabulous age of omnipresent connection where everything is always at our fingertips, something has been lost.
These are warm, talented performers, who’ve got something important to say. And this isn’t novel or even new material. We’ve all considered the cost of digital communication before, but Walker and Thorpe manage to put it so succinctly, so poignantly, and so eloquently with seemingly so little effort. The duo shine a light on our addiction, our dependence on these networks, and make considering the issue unavoidable, yet they aren’t preachy. We aren’t shamed or made to feel guilty for being ‘part of the problem’. We’re simply asked to consider the situation, offered alternatives, and given space to examine ourselves, and our connections to the net. It’s a generous performance, one that turns our focus out from within our devices and onto them, enables us to view them as foreign objects rather than extensions of our selves.
I Wish I Was Lonely is a lovely piece of theatre. Simple, direct, encouraging, this is a call to action and an examination of self. Thorpe and Walker are genuine and relatable, the text is multi-layered, and the subject matter close to all of us. The audience interaction is unintimidating, welcoming even. And though no great feats will be asked of us, no dancing with strangers or relay races, the show’s impact is huge. In the days that follow, we will be reminded of these two and their words of warning and hope with every tweet, text, and downward glance to check… If anyone’s tried to get through.