Contactless

Contactless is not your regular drama. It comprises two stories (told one after another) that are somewhat similar, though have no obvious connections. The stories (Chips and Withdrawn) explore the possibility of connection and love in a world of bars, cafes, nightclubs and pop culture. Throughout, characters find themselves within soundtracks, between phone calls, upon the screens of social media – as if their lives are about to dissolve into the raw materials of data.

The acting is strong and grants the play – a very dense and complex script – a human touch that is so valuable to its seductive powers

Style is paramount to the workings of the play. If you’re trying to follow the plot, you may feel frustrated. As the play opens, a woman breaks up with a man, and while they continue to come across each other, all they do is reminisce through chips, nursery rhymes and David Bowie.

The second story involves another couple that starts dating (Josh and Zoe) and they experience a range of emotions – both manufactured and genuine – as they navigate this postmodern world, where digital life eerily impinges upon our real ones. Often, there is difficulty in achieving intimacy in the minds of the character. Most memorable is the juxtaposition between the emotive scene of the man’s marriage proposal and the scene where, after a session of kissing, the woman feels nauseated and has a panic attack. Otherwise, they spend their time imitating the lives of others – both the people they see in the cafe she works in and people online – in order to fill up the vacuity of their time.

These stories about loneliness and disconnection in the city are accompanied by a great soundtrack, and at times performed in the style of a music video, crossed with pop songs, slogans and monologues that make you wonder how artificial the couple’s experiences are. The point is not what happens to the characters; it is about how they live, without goals or destinations in mind. In this regard, the play attempts a poetic rendition of slices of life that we know so well.

The acting is strong and grants the play – a very dense and complex script – a human touch that is so valuable to its seductive powers. For the entire experience is one of entering an art playhouse – one full of impressions and effects – that you come out realising there is more to what you have just seen, and wishfully pine for more in the life that you still live.

Reviews by Timothy Leonine Tsang

Zoo

Child’s Play

★★★
Greenside @ Infirmary Street

Deadline

★★★★
Pleasance Dome

Big Bite-Size Breakfast Show

★★★★
SpaceTriplex

A Working Title

★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

The meaning of life? Erm… To get as many likes on a profile picture as possible? Withdrawn and Chips are two new, one-act plays exploring our need to connect and to love. But how do we get back to ourselves when it's gone? Who are we now that we have to start over? Nobody wants to be damaged goods; the guy with the half drunk tenants and a cold takeaway, the late-night social media stalker. Why is vulnerability a weakness? Who knows? But one things for sure: nostalgia is a dangerous thing.