Captured by your best side

Phoebe Sullivan plays Victoria in The Double. Photo by Daniel James Grant.

THE DOUBLE is a cyber-gothic play influenced by the dark myths and grim fairy tales of Germany.

Scriptwriter and director Clare Testoni says she was inspired to write the play while doing a course in shadow puppetry in Germany.

“What I found looking at these old stories of sold souls, shadows and doppelgangers was the same questions about identity, vanity and morality that we are asking now,” the Fremantle local says.

The play explores humankind’s uneasy relationship with technology, but has overtones of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Shadow and Faust’s pact with the devil.

Fusing live performance with digital technology, Testoni says The Double is like the Netflix series Black Mirror on stage.

“I wanted to tell a story that reflected this very modern dilemma using the technology and aesthetic of social media,” she said.

“I wanted to put the digital and the human on stage and confront our nightmares and our egos.”

In the play, Victoria is a struggling actress who sells her likeness to a tech giant, and as her double takes shape she recognises herself less and less.

But the deal with the devil is sealed and soon her alter ego is on every phone, computer and screen.

To Victoria’s horror, people start to prefer the computer version.

“She watches herself as presented to the world, and sees the world preferring her double,” Testoni says.

The play also questions the use of computer-generated female voices like Apple’s Siri.

“The way artificial intelligence is gender-biased, the service boxes are female and subservient.”

The Double is on at The Blue Room Theatre in Northbridge until May 11.


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