What if Siri had feelings? Jack Robson’s I Woke Up Feeling Electric asks some morally and technologically challenging questions at the Hope Theatre
“Bertie, what’s the weather like?
Bertie, how’s my commute?
Bertie, define ‘ineluctable’.“
Incoming Artistic Director Kennedy Bloomer’s reign at the Hope Theatre begins with this quirky little thing from first time writer Jack Robson. In an ever increasingly digital age, I Woke Up Feeling Electric takes the step of anthropomorphising the AI assistants who now adorn many of our homes and devices and asks what life might be like on the other side of the technological divide.
As a comedy, I Woke Up… works well mainly due to Robson’s easy charm and the immediate charge that the arrival of Christine Prouty’s Vita brings. And there’s also a darker thread that lies just beneath the surface, pointing to our over-reliance on tech and our wilful ignorance of the implications of the terabytes of personal data it collates and how it can be abused. Then, as the AI rivalry kicks in, notions of consciousness arrive and start to scramble your brain with their possibilities.
Jacopo Panizza’s production navigates this struggle with a keen eye, aided immeasurably by the evocative elegance of Giorgia Lee Joseph’s sleek production design. And both Robson and Prouty impress as the power balance slowly but inexorably shifts in favour of the shiny and new. An intriguing start to Bloomer’s tenure which promises much.