Deep in the vaults beneath Waterloo station, in the grime and the grit, memories of a different era stir and breathe. Epoch hosts time-traveling events here, which Dank Parish has been pleased to produce original short plays for since its inception.
Epoch ushers audiences through moments in time usually relegated to the history books. By combining new writing, musicians performing in the style of the time, and transforming the surroundings at The Vaults according to the fashions of the chosen year, Epoch allows audiences to discover something new in something old.
Dank Parish opted to thread together the plays from each event, so that they work both individually and together as a whole. This allows for a more broad examination of society's relationship with technology, highlighting, with hindsight, lessons learnt, challenging both our confidence and our misconceptions in the present day.
EPOCH 1993: A WHOLE NEW WORLD
devised and performed by Jake Hassam, Zinta Gercans, Martin Coat, & Neil Connolly
video editing by George Jarvis
As The Little Mermaid so perceptively noted, 1993 heralded a new dawn, the advent and widespread use of not only the internet, e-mail and personal computing but the beginning of a new way of life embedded with technology. For some, it was a blessing, for others it the end of a way of life cemented in centuries of tradition and routine.
Dank Parish devised a short play examining the Eternal September and the birth of the internet for all. The piece was set in the basement of Cardiff University where the site we now know as the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) was being built. The action follows two programmers and a computer which becomes self aware in sheer disgust that humanity can't distinguish one Baldwin brother from the next...
EPOCH 1999: RESET
written by Chris Gunter
performed by Chris Gunter, Jake Hassam, Zinta Gercans, and Martin Coat
stage management by Becky Brown, technical magic by George Jarvis
We were all a bit paranoid in 1999. Potential Catastrophe loomed..
The world is a big computer, and everyone knows that computers break. Alarms will chime, machines unwind, planes will fall from the sky. They tried their hardest to make our lives comfortable- but, with the best of intentions, we made something that is definitely going to break. The world is going to fall apart.
Anybody any ideas?
In a dark underground bunker a small team try to alert society to the apocalyptic inevitability of the collapse of the world’s technological systems. A huge digital clock counts inexorably upwards to ‘00’, the event horizon, The End Of The World As We Know It. Over the series of weeks and months leading up to this, messages are broadcast to the outside world about how to survive the millennium meltdown, whist a single programmer races to fix the broken internet before the clock strikes midnight..
EPOCH 1950: ETIQUETTE AND INTELLIGENCE
written by Zinta Gercans
performed by Owen Jenkins, Amy Fleming, Zinta Gercans, & Nigel Munson
stage management by Matthew Gunter
Following the introduction of the National Radio Awards, you are cordially invited to the inaugural broadcast of, "Looking for the One," which guides participants through a maze of complicated social rules in order to simplify the process of courtship.
At least, that's the official line; the truth is that the programme provides a manufactured environment for a controlled experiment. The test is based on Alan Turing's seminal paper on the topic of Artificial Intelligence, which considers the question, "Can machines think?"
One unwitting volunteer - our hopeful young suitor - will communicate through a series of messages with both a human, and with a computer. Based on their interaction, our chap must then decide which would make the most suitable companion.
It is often said that love is blind; does romanticism interfere with the recognition of logic in its purest form? We can only discover the truth if we give the game a go.