Written by Devin Crittenden
Directed by Nick Cimiluca
Is the magical world of social media and technology, in general, allowing us to isolate ourselves with such ease that it becomes a way of life?
At what point do our habits become us, or would who we are exist whether we lived far from civilization or slap bang in the middle of everything?
If a robot explodes in a forest and no one is there, is there still a “kaboom?”
The Amitycode is a play about love and how the loss of it, at least for some of us, can do some strange things to our ability to blur the lines we draw emotionally, ethically and even physically.
Pete is a brilliant robotics engineer and when his girlfriend Samantha leaves him after a six-year relationship and after he stalks her for months trying desperately to get her back, his best friend Trip jokingly suggests he forget all about relationships and get a sexbot, which he then does. He then reprograms it to be the perfect companion, with hilarious and heartbreaking consequences.
What makes this play particularly excellent, and it is, by the way, absolutely excellent, is that the logic that drove Pete to create his ‘perfect women,’ who then names herself Exa, from the simplistic sexbot he purchased to his own very specific physical specifications online, seems…well.. .perfectly logical. Sure it’s a bit odd, but then so is Pete, and wouldn’t we all like someone waiting for us at home, an exquisitely constructed person made just for us? Don’t we all spend quite a bit of our time complaining that our partners are too this, or not enough that? Wouldn’t it be all so much simpler if we knew, without a doubt, that the one person we truly want to be able to depend on is dependable?
There comes a point in the play when Pete, after some hilarious tweaking of Exa’s code, faces his best friend Trip and his ex-girlfriend Samantha who are now dating each other, and introduces them both to his perfect women. There is some tension of course and Samantha is immediately creeped out by the fact that Exa looks a little too much like her. And who can blame her? But perhaps a large part of her rejection and disgust is fear based. If she can be so easily replaced then that is absolutely scary. Samantha is also clearly more than a little jealous, getting a little too agitated when comparing her love match with Trip to Pete’s abomination…hmm…
I assumed, before the play began, that the premise of the play was to illustrate how empty life would be without another actual human in it, but I’m not so certain that it made me come to that conclusion at all. When the end does come for Pete and Exa, there’s a little “reset” playfulness that actually kind of supports my ‘alternative’ conclusion. Maybe I am crazy (I have been accused of harsher things) or maybe I have had enough human relationships to feel ready for a change myself!
Either way, this beautifully written and phenomenally acted play gives us much pause for thought. If this “AI” future is where we are all heading, I prefer this vision than Stephen Spielberg’s, that’s for sure.
You should definitely add "The Amitycode" to your Fringe calendar. It’s interesting, hilarious, very, very clever and the casting is absolutely superb. What could have ben cliche and redundant in 2017, is an intense and touching examination of what love really means to each of us and how what might be perfect for one is far, far from it for another…but with a robot. It’s just brilliant!
Devin Crittenden (Chasing Mavericks, Jane the Virgin)
Ky Soto (Adderall Diaries)
Morgan Matthews (Battle of the Sexes, My Crazy Ex)
Sarah Elizabeth Johnston (Nip/Tuck)
ASYLUM @ Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre 5636 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles, CA
June 2, 11, 12, 14, 17, 23 and 25
ADMISSION: Ages 16+
tickets.theamitycode.com, comps available for members of press upon request