Within is one man’s quest to find the meaning of life. During a period of malaise, Joe happens upon a social media app called ‘Within’, where he’s guided by an AI named S.U.E on a quest to find the happiness inside himself - the wonder of the world ‘within’. Written and performed by Joe Furey, we become voyeurs of Joe’s journey of self discovery as he connects with S.U.E., the Spiritual Unification Enabler, who promises to develop a complete plan of who and what he is and to present him with the key to eternal happiness.
A raw, visceral and contemporary analysis of the nature of happiness and of connection.
There’s a real skill in what Furey has achieved, in that he’s taken an outlandish concept and sprinkled it with enough relatability that it becomes totally plausible. Initially, our protagonist is skeptical of S.U.E. She asks intrusive questions, which aim to emotionally reduce him and break him down - yet they start off familiar enough to the audience, that we go with it. He’s asked if he sleeps well; if he smokes; takes alcohol and exercise. And then the questions deepen. Does he ever ponder his inferiority? Is he a porn addict? The grip tightens, as S.U.E. has access to all his search histories and account details. Joe’s character flits between impatience, challenge and excitability.
As the questions deepen in intensity, with suicidal thoughts being raised, the air becomes palpable as Joe’s resolve to defeat S.U.E. heightens. And when he eventually disables her, the result is a sucker punch of reality that he has completely lost control of S.U.E. and of himself.
Within is a thought provoking commentary on the nature of our interactions with social media and the placating energies it holds over us. It questions the congruence at play within its structures and players, and how ultimately inescapable its reach is. Furey is a flawless performer, understated in parts, whilst injecting high energy and intrigue into key moments which prevent us ever becoming comfortable in our conclusions. Within is a raw, visceral and contemporary analysis of the nature of happiness and of connection, and is a perfect example of little nuggets of genius within the Fringe.