Miro Garvan’s The Doll arrives at Tuggeranong Arts Centre this Friday, shining a light on our uneasy and quickly-developing relationship with artificial intelligence.
Garvan’s eerily prescient play is a window into the life of Marko, a recently single 39-year-old man whose reluctance towards marriage and children has seen his long-term relationship deteriorate around him.
Cue Stella: an anatomically-accurate android designed with the specialised purpose of making men happy. Imbued with the views and a loyalty towards her female designer, the Doll draws attention to Marko’s worldview, sparking an examination of loneliness, relationships, and the male gaze. Through a series of dramatic and humorous situations, it becomes clear that the expectations Marko places on his android partner are drawing out the mistakes he made with his real-life girlfriend. All that remains to be seen is how he deals with the confronting realisation that his insecurities might have been within his control all along.
After premiering in 2012, The Doll has gone on to show all around the world, and rehearsals for the Sydney production earlier this year were the subject of a story on SBS. Six years on, the play sits in the context of an increasingly digital world. Even though the interpersonal problems explored in The Doll have plagued us for thousands of years, the state of play in 2018, in which gender equality is in full focus, makes Garvan’s exploration as vital as ever. It’s unnerving to consider the glacial pace of societal change compared to the ever more real prevalence of artificial intelligence.
Miro Garvan is one of Europe’s most celebrated contemporary writers. Born in Croatia in 1961, his novels and plays have been translated into 40 different languages and his dramas and comedies have taken to the stage all around the world. Garvan is also the only living dramatist in Europe that has an entire theatre festival, Garvanfest, dedicated solely to the celebration of his works, many of which linger on the philosophical and the existential.
The production is directed by Croation actor and director Romana Petrušic and stars Australians Firdaws Adelpour as the male lead and Jacynda Radanovic as the titular Doll.
Tuggeranong Arts Centre’s boasts a diverse 2018 program, which also features the excellent Lakeside Literary Lounge series, Twilight Classical Concerts, and a string of visual art offerings. Head to their website to find out more.
In Short: The relationship a middle-aged man has with a Doll draws out his shortcomings as a real-life partner.
Where: Tuggeranong Arts Centre, 137 Reed Street North
When: Friday, April 20, 7:30 pm
Cost: Tickets are $29.50 + booking fee, available through TryBooking.
What was the last play you saw that really got you thinking?