Attempts on Our Lives (T@PP Fest Online)

Following my recent review of the new musical Public Domain, I was interested in watching this show in the T@PP Fest Online. Both shows exploit social media and the influence on viewers.

Attempts on Our Lives is a postmodern play by Martin Crimp. I have seen his work before (the impenetrable Now That We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other). Here his play transfers into the digital space of Zoom rooms, TikTok posts, voice messages, Insta feeds, and YouTube videos. It is produced by Glitch In Time Theatre Company.

A “live-streamed theatrical adventure”, Attempts on Our Lives is a disturbing, often deeply frustrating, exploration of Crimp’s text. We immerse ourselves in the world of the mysterious Anne.

Screencap from Attempts on Our Lives

This Anne may be one, all, or many of us participating and watching. She has a story, but one only revealed in fragments. It is easy to lose your way. The text can sometimes be described as pretentious, at others extremely mundane. Characters shift and those who play them change. We are constantly told we should “enjoy the show”.

I expected a bit more audience interaction in this play, as it was live-streamed on YouTube. The mix of technology, drawings, and in-house performances was well done. Unfortunately, there were constant problems with sound levels of spoken parts. Despite a short running time (44 minutes) I started to feel restless very quickly.

I cannot fault the fourteen actors credited (no director was listed on the stream). However, I feel that far too many ideas were crammed into the presentation.

Screencap from Attempts on Our Lives

Although I am still thinking about Attempts on Our Lives several hours after the stream, I am still no nearer to understanding anything about Anne or why I should care about whatever happened to her.

Attempts on Our Lives streamed on 21 January as part of the University of Salford’s New Adelphi Theatre’s T@PP Fest Online. Comprising five shows, this runs until the 23 January – more info here. Tickets are available on a Pay What You Can basis.