Llift the game text cover of That Is Not Who I Am by Dave Davidson and another coin will fall. Long before audiences enter the royal court, this play makes us question the truth. The real game, that is. That Is Not Who I Am is a clever front for Rapture, a brilliantly crafty new production from Lucy Kirkwood.
In an opening statement, we’re told that Rapture is a response to an actual investigation into a murdered couple, after the Home Secretary refused to release the report into their deaths. After legal challenges and threats, Kirkwood decided to publish the piece under a pseudonym for his own safety. Deftly directed by Lucy Morrison, an immediate sense of discomfort is sewn into this remarkably layered and jaw-dropping story, in which reality and sanity are constantly examined.
Celeste (Siena Kelly) and Noah (Jake Davies) meet on a blind date with the Guardian, rating each other 9 and 9.5. As they create a life together, his resistance to technology rubs off on her, and among the fragile scenes of their relationship, they are seen becoming increasingly paranoid about surveillance and data collection. An unrelenting urgency builds as they become entangled in anti-democratic movements and the hoarding of government secrets, turning themselves into dangerous targets.
They’re right to think they’re being watched, and not just by us and their Netflix subscription. Kirkwood nonchalantly leans against Naomi Dawson’s rotating scaffolding set. Played with nervous excitement by Priyanga Burford, she explains how she used Reddit threads, YouTube videos and personal recordings to piece together the story of Quilter – the technology the couple hated to form their archive. Conspiracy theories come to the fore, and the question of what is real suddenly seems very difficult to answer.
Rapture is about truth and power, with visceral frustration with our cruel and incompetent government being just one of many complex layers of this mystery. But in text and direction, this play also revels in the way theater is done, with visible directors constructing the version of reality that Kirkwood wants us to believe. A heady production with stellar performances, Rapture is an absolute thriller, trickster and game.