And Now: The World! is a somewhat meandering commentary on the impact of the internet on modern life. An English language premiere of an award-winning German play, it explores one young woman’s experience of life lived in a predominantly digital world.
The play is a monologue set in an ambiguous, digital age and focuses on big current world issues such as climate change, but also makes detours to discuss smaller, everyday concerns such as cosmetics and friendship groups. The penchant to take detours gives this play the feeing of having little plot, but it does at least create a realistic stream of thought of one young person.
Played by Jennifer Jackson, the young person at the centre of this production seems ambiguous in terms of age and sexuality, but there is a clear focus on relationships: friends Jemma and Milly; her mother; as well as her unrequited feelings for Lisa. All of these interactions and their accompanying anecdotes work towards representing current pressures on women today. These online interactions are represented through a minimalist yet versatile set, whose lighting and sound effectively expresses our digital era- almost reminding one of the inside of a computer.
Jennifer Jackson is perfect for the role, with lines exquisitely delivered, and her tone and expression modulating to represent the chaotic nature of her life and her thoughts. However, the conversational style of the script, written by Sibylle Berg, means some points aren’t conveyed with enough clarity and this reviewer found it hard to follow in some areas . Overall, though, it achieves what it set out to do by representing the chaotic nature of our digital age. It’s certainly leaves the audience with much to think about, although perhaps the life lessons of the central character- which are liberally peppered throughout- are not necessarily universal and so not all audience members are likely to identify with this insight into the modern age.