Voice of the Net
Recipient of the CATCO/GCAC 2018 Playwrights Fellowship.
Recipient of a 2022 Individual Artist Award from the Ohio Arts Council.
A PERSONAL NOTE
Voice of the Net speaks to a variety of aspects of the internet, but the most triggering is probably its mention of white supremacism. While it isn’t the main focus of the play, it does have a prominent role.
I completed the first draft of this play in 2018. Like many of us, I was still sort of reeling from the 2017 events in Charlottesville, and I’d recently stumbled across an NPR article on how white supremacists at the time were using gaming platforms to target and radicalize young audiences.
Since then, the problem has only gotten worse. The most recent evidence is the racist violence in Buffalo, NY that claimed ten Black lives. I will not write the killer’s name on my website but will note that this is a kid who has been radicalized online and was legally allowed to purchase the tools necessary for this violence, despite obvious behavioral concerns.
I considered censoring this play, which uses some of the exact rhetoric that inspires racist killings, but I decided against it. To do so would only hide the very thing we need to expose. This rhetoric is still out there, turning children into domestic terrorists, while parents and school districts argue whether these same children should receive a comprehensive education on the history of American racism. If we are to confront white supremacism, we have to look it in the eyes and see it for what it is. Additionally, we have to recognize the ways in which these “fringe” ideas continue to influence American discourse and policy. The only way to stop white supremacism is to actively stand against it. We all have this responsibility.
Part of the reason I set the play in the future was because I wanted to remove it from today’s political figures.. I hope people can come to recognize that the only “sides” to this issue are those that are against white supremacism and those that aren’t. Every political party, business, and organization needs to play an active role in silencing this hateful rhetoric.
Set twenty years in the future, the recent advent of Net Lenses as the primary means of internet access has allowed the internet into virtually every facet of society. This shift in technology brings great benefit and detriment, when anyone with an online presence can appear directly in your field of vision. To further complicate the issue, a newly imposed federal regulation allows law enforcement agencies to disable an entire community’s access to the internet based on how much of a threat they seem to pose.
In this net-driven and highly political world, Sgt. Donna Lloyd leads a small federal task force dedicated to solving and preventing net crimes. Recently, her team has been aided by a net vigilante known only as Daria. But when a digital death threat toward a US Senator implicates Daria, Lloyd must determine Daria’s true motives before the violence spreads to the real world.
A pseudo sci-fi take on internet culture and cyber crimes.
Artistic/aesthetic influences include:
The work of some of my favorite Japanese creators: Haruki Murakami, Taiyou Matsumoto, and Mamoru Oshii
The music and theatre of Janelle Monáe (Electric Lady, and Dirty Computer) and St. Vincent (self-titled, and Masseduction).
Cast requirements: Four Female, Two Male.
All productions of this play should be dedicated to the victims of the 2022 attack in Buffalo and all of the racist violence over the past four centuries.
Art Credit: Mary Jackson