Think the concept of “The Nether” sounds creepy? Well, it’s not all science fiction. In fact, The Nether was written by someone who knows first-hand how all-too-real the concepts and technology presented in this play can be.
Before writing The Nether, playwright Jennifer Haley spent over a decade working as a web designer. An avid gamer herself, Haley describes her ideal vacation as one involving the multiplayer online role playing game “World of Warcraft.”
“I felt like I was in the thick of it,” said Haley of her time in web development. “Being a tech person and being in that world – it really started influencing my work.”
But her career didn’t start there. Haley graduated college with a double major in liberal arts and theatre performance. It wasn’t until after graduating that she did a 360, landing a job in web development.
In The Nether, Haley fuses her interests of theatre and the digital sphere, wrestling with questions surrounding technology and ethics.
“During Prohibition, liquor was evil – but it’s not evil, it’s all what we do with it,” said Haley. “We get technology and we don’t necessarily do anything with it, but play out our own neuroses.”
Beyond her personal fandom for gaming and the world of tech, Haley attributes one other important personal trait that qualified her for writing this chilling and challenging new work.
“I feel like The Nether could have only been written by a woman,” she shared. Haley feels strongly that she was the right playwright to bring this kind of work to life.“If I were, like, ‘Joe’ Haley, everyone would think I was a big freakin’ perv,” said Haley.
Taking on a world of total sensory immersion where provocative digital entertainment runs rampant, Haley has continued to defy both genre and gender throughout her career.
She has worked with the Royal Court Theatre in London, the Humana Festival of New Plays, O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, the Seymour Center in Australia, Theater Jeok in Korea, and has written for the television series Mindhunter. Haley has been nominated for an Obie and an Olivier Award, and received the Susan Blackburn Prize for The Nether in 2012. Her work has been produced in Europe, America, Asia, Australia, and South America.
The Nether runs in FST’s Bowne’s Lab Theatre through February 7. For tickets and more information, click here.