Not-a-Review: Rough Cuts – Searched, Royal Court

“He opened his laptop and didn’t like what he saw”

The second part of the Royal Court’s 2013 Rough Cuts mini-season based around the internet, was a work-in-progress from EV Crowe named Searched. I hadn’t initially intended to see this play as Crowe really provoked my ire with her last play Hero, it still annoys me to think of it now, but once the cast was announced I knew I would be powerless to resist. And whilst I might have preferred a little more cooling off time and a slightly more appropriate environment, I find it is always good to test one’s preconceptions and so I was willing to give a second chance to the young playwright.

Since this was a work-in-progress, workshopped by Crowe, the company and director Carrie Cracknell over the last 10 days, I won’t say too much about it, save to mention that it really is a pleasure to be able to see such great actors up close and personal in such an early stage of a project, even with script in hand there’s a genuine openness to the performances, a freshness to the acting which is great to see. 

And in its subject matter, the development of an app that can compile and  download all one’s internet activity into a single list and the implications of such technology on those that created it and their families, it certainly has much potential in becoming a very interesting piece of drama. The issues around data privacy, the choices we make in what we share or not, and how that can be exploited for commercial gain feels like a significant issue for our time and one that ought to have enough resonance to supersede any notions of relevance (or otherwise) in the fast-moving world of technology and move to a deeper discussion of the ethics underpinning it all. One to look out for, the rehabilitation of Crowe starts here.     

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