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Computers and Computer Technology


2008 The Listener, by Julian Simpson
2007 The Veldt, by Ray Bradbury, dram. Mike Walker
2003 Distant Whispers, by Gary Lyons
2001 Alpha, by Mike Walker
1994 The Paradise Machine, by Paul Thain
1983 Revelation, by Paul Thain


NOTES ON THE PLAYS

THE LISTENER....2008
............by Julian Simpson (R4, 2100, 22Aug 08), a second very imaginative Friday Play by the writer of "Fragments", did not disappoint. It was described as a fast paced pschological thriller on the R4 webpage, but contained some elements of science fiction. A man, possibly a policeman - we're not told - is injured in a terrorist bomb-blast, in the course of his work. It destroys his recall completely, but a way is found for him to become a normal human being again; he gets a new high-tech synthetic memory. He resumes work, and tries to uncover his true identity. He gets there, but that isn't the end of the story; there's another twist, in the way of the best thrillers. ND, VRPCC newsletter, Sept 08.


THE VELDT....2007
By Ray Bradbury. Dramatised by Mike Walker. Two parents buy a nursery which simulates different environments for their children to play in. It comes alive - a startling premonition, from pre-computer days, of multimedia technology. The parents become concerned when the children keep returning to an African veldt scene and start feeding the lions, even though there are supposed to be no lions in the program.

...."They stood on the thatched floor of the nursery. It was forty feet across by forty feet long and thirty feet high; it had cost half again as much as the rest of the house.....

.....The nursery was silent. It was empty as a jungle glade at hot high noon. The walls were blank and two dimensional. Now, as George and Lydia Hadley stood in the center of the room, the walls began to purr and recede into crystalline distance, it seemed, and presently an African veldt appeared, in three dimensions, on all sides, in color reproduced to the final pebble and bit of straw. The ceiling above them became a deep sky with a hot yellow sun.....


TV Announcer ...... David Rapkin, Peter ...... Michael Wachter, Wendy ...... Reyna Shaskan, Lydia ...... Jennifer Van Dyck, George ...... David Slavin, Ms. Kim ...... Nancy Wu, The Room ...... John Henry Cox, David MacLean ...... Richmond Hoxie; directed by Judith Kampfner.


DISTANT WHISPERS....2003
An excellent police thriller investigating a murder from thirty years earlier. The inquiry leads to an elderly ornithologist and an ancient tape recording. Stars Paul Copley as Dermot Crowley. Friday play, 60m, R4.


ALPHA....2001
A computer so all-knowing that it seems to have a life of its own. How long will it be before the religious know-alls try to turn it off? With David Calder, Sarah-Jane Holm, John Moffat and Ana Sofrenovic. Dir. Gordon House; music by David Chiltern. This won a Sony Award.


THE PARADISE MACHINE....1994
By Paul Thain. This play won the 1995 Award for best European Drama and explores what happens when a woman tries to defy nature in a virtual reality machine.


REVELATION....1983
By Paul Thain. In an oppressive future, the main-frame bio-computer of the Internal Security Department develops sentience, and a conscience... Artificial Intelligence creator Doctor Dowing has to decide whether or not she should obey her masters and destroy this new form of life.

The play opens in the interior of Communications Centre for United Kingdom Internal Security. An interrogation is taking place between Charles Hammond, Director of Internal Security and TOBOL. For reasons which will become apparent, TOBOL is more difficult to describe, but for the moment we should consider TOBOL as a character under great stress, confused and disorientated...

With Charles Gray [Charles Hammond], Anne Morris [Doctor Mary Dowling], Michael Turner [Michael], Michael Tudor Barnes [TOBOL], Christopher Schooler [Robert Cartwright], John Webb [Allan Braithwaite], Peter Toddenum [Arthur], Jennifer Piercey [Betty Dobson], Clive Panto [David], Moir Leslie [Sally], Michael Speight [Professor Jim Davis], Timothy Bateson [Professor Mason], Michael Jenner [Doctor Sanderson], Irene Prodow [Charlotte], and Geoffrey Collins [Professor Winthrop]. Directed by Glyn Dearman. 90m. ..............details from Hans Olsson, Stockholm.

compiled by Nigel Deacon / Diversity website

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