Privacy is a story that explores the boundaries and lack of privacy in the connected and physical worlds.

Privacy is a story that explores the boundaries and lack of privacy, as well as relationships that live in the connected and physical worlds, through the eyes of an introverted British man struggling to stay connected while still keeping his personal data private.

Privacy takes the audience on a journey, exploring the boundaries and lack of privacy alongside an introverted British man who struggles to stay connected while still keeping his personal data private. A parade of infamous characters from the commercially connected world convince the writer to succumb to the connected world, while at the same time exposing the dangers of being part of the connected and physical worlds.

The space in this place is two-fold: one very physical mentioning specific locations and another one just a feeling that leaves after reading the play.

The physical places are so timely familiar, you know exactly how it looks like because you’ve been there yourself:

Public Theatre
London Hampstead → Consulting room / Therapist room
Google: entire world & specific locations
JFK airport
New York
Uber car
Apartment in East Village

There is also another dimension added to the world using the screen at the back. This wall helps in projecting and looking and data that “belongs to others”. The wall also acts as a perfect medium to convey the vast nuances of “public data” to the audience.

There is a set of feelings that this play leaves you with:

  • Feeling that everything is in the air and so temporary
  • Small: “For a person’s entire life you need about a terabyte of storage.”
  • Sometimes even empty, tight and cramped
  • Floating: are the people real? Is it just the imagination?

Conveyor belt scenario of people coming in and out. The space stays still and people move in and out of the space in constant flux. There is no fourth wall between actors and audience.

While there is a lot going on, the world of the play is still very delicately balanced. While the writer travels from Hampstead, UK to New York in the play, he is also always in the Public theatre interacting and aware of the audience.

Hidden Spaces:
The whole concept of the play is about exposes these hidden ways of which privacy is invaded. It also shows that there really are NO HIDDEN places.

Past: remembering ex, all the interactions asking people to google question and showing result based on their past behavior

Present: Writer is very present at all the locations he is at (either it is therapy room, his apartment in East Village and so on).

Future: when Jill Lepore appears and she says: “we will meet, when you go on the journey you’re about to go on…”.

Awkward: Audience is an awkward part of the experience.
Friendly : An atmosphere of the greater idea of the play winking at the audience – no fourth wall – where we (audience and actors) are on the same intellectual level, teaching the Writer and/or learning along with him..
Discomfort : It makes you uncomfortable about this idea of privacy, but also it doesn’t really go too deep into it, so it is very much surface level.
Suspicious : feeling of being watched (especially at the beginning of the play with the prologue); Big Brother feeling (especially with a Russian driver in Uber’s car)
Pulsing: gives even more tension
Makes it feel like nothing is real (especially the characters)
Super cautious
Intrusive (as in why all those strange people are coming to Writer’s apartment?)
Shocking and insanely scary: as in are there really so many types of doing surveillance on people? → “There can be no such thing as absolute privacy in America.”
Intention : Every character in the play (except of the Writer, of course) has their own reasons to convince the Writer why he should expose his data, and with it his privacy, to everybody in the world. While this would make him seem socially awkward person, the “abnormal behavior” that he’s accused of is completely normal once you realize the problems behind surveillance and privacy.

Social world and life of the play:
The play is alive both with its interactions with the audience and timely topic such as surveillance. The world in the play reflects the one we live in – a world post the revelations by Snowden.

The play establishes the rules of the world through questions and conversations. It speaks to everyone in the audience individually and even if asks the same questions, responses vary depending on the person sitting in the room.

While there is no music in this play – there are sounds that amplify the emotion at the given moment.

  • Tempest and iTunes condition being read out at the same time creates a symphony of sorts. This puts into perspective the information that we let slide and are not aware of.
  • While not explicitly mentioned, in the scene where the writer contemplates deleting the mail –  the sounds of typing and clicking between screens definitely adds to the urgency of the scene.
  • Various phone notifications – eg – the uber notification when there is another uberpool pickup

Another sound that seems almost necessary is the roar of audience applause, much like that in a 90’s sitcom when a new impersonated character enters.

What changes:
Scenes change quickly

Commitments and attitudes change quickly. (For example, suddenly Writer agrees to breaking his feelings about privacy and suddenly he accepts his match).

The idea of privacy changes. At the beginning of the play privacy is understood by the Writer and audience to be private, but by the end, he realizes that his fears of the internet and privacy are true.

The play starts of with the Writer mulling over his past relationship and unable to get over his ex. Through the play, he makes discoveries of the other person and soon begins to move on.

The project is done together with Angela M Perrone, Mathura M Govindarajan and Yue Hu.

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