'The Nether' is a dark, futuristic play exploring the moral, ethical and legal implications of virtual reality

Florida Studio Theatre opens its annual Stage III Series with “The Nether” by Jennifer Haley.

Florida Studio Theatre opens its annual Stage III Series with “The Nether” by Jennifer Haley, a dark, futuristic play exploring the moral, ethical and legal implications of virtual reality.

Called “Relentlessly gripping” by TimeOut London and “Gasp-worthy” by The New York Times, this thrilling drama imagines a digital world that provides its users with total sensory immersion and no rules: The Nether. When Detective Morris discovers “The Hideaway,” a secret realm within The Nether offering its visitors a disturbing brand of entertainment, she launches an investigation into the complex morality of the digital world. Winner of the 2012 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and nominated for the 2015 Olivier Award for Best New Play.

“As virtual worlds become more immersive and all-consuming, lines between what is real and what is not become thinner,” said Eric Gilde, who plays Woodnut in FST’s production of “The Nether.” “The play asks, is a harmless role-playing of harmful behavior, in fact, harmless? Is it a safe way to explore and release impulses and urges? Or does it, in fact, exacerbate and cultivate those feelings, making them more likely to happen outside of a virtual setting?”

“I’m interested in technology because it is giving us a way to live alternate lives,” shared playwright Jennifer Haley in an interview with American Theatre Magazine. “I’m very interested in identity and how people perceive themselves. For me, technology is just an interesting way to examine these really limitless, long-standing, global questions of identityand waking life versus dream life.”

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