'Pests' is a production by 12MilesNorth.
25th - 29th of June
(3pm Matinee - 29th June)
Running Time: 1 hour 20 mins approx.
Age Restriction: 14+
Scenes of heavy drug use and reference to rape.
Elegy 'formally' formed at Italia Conti Acting in 2018, however the initial seed for what would become the company goes back to 2012, where the human being called Matthew Gouldesbrough started writing and directing his own work. After meeting other human beings at drama school, the company formed, with a current interest in text based work.
Jon finds something online. Something personal. Something he didn’t want to see. A haunting image, which has slipped through the filters. Delete it.
But this is the internet. Nothing can be deleted forever. Especially when the dark web exists. A shadowy reflection of YouTube. An online cave for the disturbed, deranged and disillusioned. There to satisfy the filthy part of your soul. Welcome to Holy Land.
This new play fuses multimedia and vivid storytelling to explore the darkest corners of the internet, its secrets, its purpose and the creators behind it.
What motivated you to write this piece?
Matthew: I started writing the show more than a year ago as I was coming to the close of my time at Drama School. It’s a time in your life where you don’t have a lot of control over your life or decisions and that’s really what sits at the core of the play – How did we get to be here? How little control do we have? How much of it can we take?It went through a lot of iterations, but it wasn’t really sitting right for a long time – until one day I was talking to an old friend from home and she told me she’d found a video of herself online, on a less-than-ideal website… and that just struck me as horrific. Imagine finding a video of a terrible incident you went through posted online for millions to see, and then discuss, joke over, and be able to do nothing about it. It was
Without any spoilers what is 'Holy Land' about?
M: It’s an odyssey into the world of gory, horrific viral content on the dark web, framed around the lives of three individuals - but really it’s much more than that. At its core it’s a human story, asking big questions about fate, possibility and control. The characters are all wrestling with these ideas: Kate’s trying to break out of her small town, Jon is trying to cope with his daughter's death, Tim is trying to reconcile his past
brimming with all the same ideas I was eager to discuss, and so I started doing some research and digging into these websites. The things on there I’ve seen have honestly shaken me to my core, and no one is really talking about it. So I took it straight back to my writing desk, and in a few months there was a finished draft.
decisions with his new lifestyle; and we bounce between these narratives and timelines as they gradually reveal a darker picture...
How did the collaboration between the both of you begin and how did you choose your cast?
M: Well as all good things begin, it began in a pub. Pat is a tech wizard (as well as an excellent director) and he came on to help with the smooth running of our last show ‘Faith & Heresy’, and then we started chatting about what was next for Elegy and then here we are! We have been working together on this show for about 10 months. We saw it as a challenge for both of us, personally and professionally to go bigger, and better than we ever had before. Consequently, a national tour and a stint at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival were booked and away we go! We cast the show, with the help of our lovely Casting Director Stephanie Hume. We had over 1000 submissions for just 2 parts and it was a big old job to shortlist down to audition stages, then recalls. We saw literally hundreds of wonderful performers before settling on the final cast.
The dangers of the internet and the negative influence social media platforms can have are very current in today's society. What makes your piece different to other pieces that have been written regarding this subject matter?
M: It’s definitely a topic at the forefront of our cultural discussion! But where Holy Land differs, is that it pushes that thought to the absolute extremes. Holy Land imagines a world not too far from our own. A world where these darker video hosting websites begin to have the same cultural standing, and importance as YouTube and Vimeo. It takes the idea that you can find anything online, incredibly personal content, and asks how much control can we have over this, and more importantly how much control can we take - we meet Tim, the creator of the biggest website and he presents us with compelling arguments for the
existence of these gory websites. He expresses it as a deeply moral and empathetic place, where people can be compensated for their tragedy. It goes beyond the effects of social media - it launches you into the darkest corners of the internet, exposes us to the truly horrifying things that people actively seek out. It’s all there, lurking behind Instagram and Facebook. Anyone could be accessing this content, but who’s making it? And why? Holy Land really does ask the big questions.
Why should people come & watch 'Holy Land' & why is the piece important?
M: The internet is growing day by day. It’s depth is unfathomable, and the scary thing is these websites exist, lurking in the deeper web - everything discussed in the play is happening in real life, right now. It’s something that, in our opinion, isn’t really being talked about, and we need to thrust it into discussion, work out the ethics of it before it truly becomes mainstream. We can’t stop the internet growing, so the discussion becomes about how shepard the direction of that growth, what can we control, and what will we have to accept?
What reaction do you expect from an audience?
M: Probably unrest, definitely shock, but tempered by a lot of the beauty in the piece. It’s ironically a very hopeful play, and I think that comes back to the fact that it’s ultimately a human story, contextualised by the internet; if people want to hold their loved ones close afterwards, then we’ve done our job.
Describe the piece in 3 words.
M: Dark, Tender, Visceral.