Alas, the 2015/2016 season at Tarragon Theatre is drawing to a close.
I watched the final play of the season, The Summoned, last Thursday, bringing my mentor along for the show (he’s a former theatre critic, and coincidentally, his first review was of a Tarragon play many years ago).
Of all the plays at Tarragon this season, The Summoned intrigued me the most — it was the play I knew I had to see. The Summoned is centred around the reading of a tech visionary’s will and its description boasts a story featuring “a paradigm shift in the very future of technology and human nature.” This sounded quite lofty to me, and I wondered if the play would it live up to the self-professed hype. I also liked the idea of a science fiction-themed play–I love this genre in film and literature, and wondered how it would translate on the stage.
While the set and technology used in The Summoned are quite basic (the production takes place in front of a giant projector screen, which is supposed to represent a computer screen), the concepts it explores are indeed futuristic (though not necessarily unique). The Summoned discusses artificial intelligence, what defines our humanity, how far technology can and will take us from our human nature, and to an extent, what “love” can lead to in an age of pretty incredible technological advancement (if you watch the play you may understand why I say “love”).
If you’re enjoying the current season (Season 3) of the show The 100 or you are a fan of the Philip K. Dick book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? you might like this play; there are some similar themes, though the stories are vastly different.
Something I must applaud this play on is that I didn’t find it predictable. There were some twists and turns that I did not see coming, and though the start was confusing (two of the characters play two other characters, and initially it’s not clear which characters/story line you’re watching), the ending was pretty explosive. I enjoyed all of the characters except one, whom my companion and I both agreed fell a bit flat in her delivery (though we couldn’t tell if it was simply the mother’s character or the actress playing this part).
If you have the chance, go see The Summoned. This play will make you laugh (and cringe), and will also leave you contemplating your future relationship with technology (there’s a pun here that won’t make sense unless you see the play, trust me). While Mustard remains my favourite play of this season at Tarragon, The Summoned is the runner up.
The Summoned runs until May 29, 2016, and is the final play in Tarragon Theatre’s 45th season — and what a fantastic season it was! If you’re under 35, Tarragon offers AWESOME subscription deals. I would highly recommend subscribing for 2016/2017!