Review: They’ve Already Won (Belvoir St Theatre)

theyvealreadywonVenue: Belvoir St Theatre (Surry Hills NSW), Dec 8 – 20, 2015
Playwrights: Harriet Gillies, Pierce Wilcox
Directors: Harriet Gillies, Pierce Wilcox
Cast: Harriet Gillies, Pierce Wilcox
Image by Mitch Lee

Theatre review
Art can find a way to represent the state of our collective consciousness as it stands, so that we may achieve an understanding of life, while remaining embroiled within. They’ve Already Won is about the now, and how individuals in societies such as ours, deal with the new face of media and its pervasiveness. It explores the interactivity of technology, and exposes the nature of our participation in the digital world, with all its anxieties and intellectual challenges.

As barriers to information and truth begin to crumble, we are forced to encounter pessimism like never before. Harriet Gillies and Pierce Wilcox’s play is about the way we respond to this incessant profusion of bad news arriving through all our screens, and how it dominates and shapes our culture as it stands today. The show addresses us directly, beginning almost like a lecture with Gillies orchestrating visual projections and sound cues, and Wilcox gesturing to illustrate their assertions, but thankfully, things turns increasingly fluid in style as they proceed. The work is beautifully considered and idiosyncratic, with rich content that will ring true and provoke. There are unusual and refreshing modes of expression in its staging, with a string of amusing scenes and surprising concepts. Execution of ideas could be more polished, but the production is ultimately an impressive one that offers a generous serving of food for thought.

They’ve Already Won can be seen as a political work, but it also allows us to be apathetic. It accurately reflects the confusion of modern life, revealing to us that the more we know, the less we know what to do. It is a feeling of helplessness that co-exists with a passion for betterment, an everyday duality that pulls in different directions. We can leave the show determined to be unfazed, but reality is tumultuous and we will be moved regardless.