Leicester Square Theatre
6 Leicester Place
LONDON WC2H 7BX
20 Feb – 24 Feb @ 20:00
24 Feb @ 15:30
26 Feb – 03 Mar @ 20:00
03 Mar @ 15:30
General Admission £17.00
From the team that brought the critically acclaimed productions of Reese Thompson’s WHORE: A Kid’s Play and Joy Donze: 13 & Not Pregnant to the 2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and Shadows at Theatro Technis, London, in 2017. In new play Version 2.0, issues of female consent and robotics are thrown together in this timely new piece challenging the superficiality of modern society, opening at the Leicester Square Theatre in February 2018, directed by Kevin Michael Reed and written by Kashyap Raja.
~ Veronica Stein, Reviews Gate
Kash (Tim Atkinson), a playwright, is obsessively in love with his childhood friend Karen. Kash silently expresses his love for Karen (Tracey Pickup) by writing plays for her and she returns his admiration by acting in them. Their enduring friendship falls apart when Karen rejects Kash, infuriating him to such an extent that he refuses to see her again. After the rejection, he isolates himself from everyone and gradually falls into a depression.
A robotic society offers Kash an opportunity to live with a humanoid companion, and in return that society wants him to introduce their robots to the world via the means of theatre. Kash accepts the invitation and creates a robot that looks exactly like Karen. He prepares a new show with the humanoid look-alike of Karen and presents her in front of a live audience.
“We seem to think we know people just by being “friends” with them on Facebook, but those idealized worlds presented are not truth. When placed in the wrong hands, those worlds are dangerous.”
~ Director Kevin Michael Reed
Exploring the effect of social media culture on real human relationships, and asking whether a robot can replace a true human and face to face relationships. Version 2.0 comments on and highlights the effects of social media on the nature of relationships.
“under the direction of Kevin Michael Reed the heavier moments are well done” Saskia Coomber, A Younger Theatre
“shows ‘history repeating itself’ so that the audience can judge for itself why certain events took place.” Michael Davis, Breaking The Fourth Wall
“this piece excels in is its commentary in the wake of Weinstein and the various assault cases recently brought to light.” Veronica Stein, Reviewsgate.com
“We are propelled into a world where anyone can order a humanoid on Amazon, not only that, but they can also design every aspect of them to their liking.” Saskia Coomber, A Younger Theatre
“as the best science fiction often does, Version 2.0 comments less on our interaction with technology and more on our interaction with each other. ” Veronica Stein, Reviewsgate.com
“The pair's chemistry is undeniable, and watching them work the crowd is one of the main pleasures of Version 2.0. ” Veronica Stein, Reviewsgate.com
“Pickup’s performance acts as the conduit for the audience, naturally eliciting our sympathies and through her have a sounding board for Kash’s actions.” Michael Davis, Breaking The Fourth Wall
“Issues of consent, ownership, and entitlement are rife in our current political climate. Kashyap Raja brilliantly brings artificial intelligence to the same discussion.” Veronica Stein, Reviewsgate.com
“Version 2.0 takes a good look at what advanced technology can do to our future relationships- more impressive is the astute observation of what's wrong with them now.” Veronica Stein, Reviewsgate.com
“Version 2.0 is a thematically dense play, that […] lends itself to the assumption that the author wants to draw comparisons between ‘fact’ and ‘fiction, and the emotional ‘truth’ that lies between.” Michael Davis, Breaking The Fourth Wall
The following are unedited audience reviews submitted through our contact us form or through our audience membership services. We invite all audience members to submit their reviews of Version 2.0 using the form below.
★★★★ An intriguing play about a portrait of the love life of a young man. Frighteningly realistic and quite heartbreaking. Well acted and a tragic commentary on today's society. ~ Shalini N.
★★★★ The cast of two both put in a solid performance in this 100 minute play. Karen switching from robot to human was great to watch. Kash was full of energy throughout playing a loner. Lots of scenes with different settings to keep the audience gripped. ~ William C.
★★★ Little cosy venue. Very good actors and easy to listen to. The plot is nevertheless a bit complex and requires your full attention. Don't see it after a glass of wine! ~ Giuseppe B.
★★★★★Thank you for a fantastic performance last night of Version 2.0, Squire Lane. Our group really enjoyed the show. It was deep, witty, challenging and beautiful performed. We all found it spell binding. If anyone gets a chance to go see the play before it finishes, please do, you won’t regret it! ~ Sarah H, via Facebook
★★★★ Have to applaud the talent of the two actors, flawless and seasoned performances. The story a qwirky one yet kept you focused on the characters so well portrayed. Enjoyed seeing Karen flick from human to robot. She played a playful robot perfectly. Kash got a little too manic on occasion to try your patience and deserved the slap or two he deserved from Karen, felt like reaching out myself and giving him a punch in the nose to calm him down but I guess his character is just that way. Very enjoyable. ~ Keith S.
★★★★ Well written and well acted play in a small studio. ~ Salinder R.
★★★★ I enjoyed this performance a lot. It's a nice cozy theatre and the closeness of actors really made the play quite immersive. The play itself was also very interesting and dealt with both AI related and very much human topics, although I felt some of them were a bit underdeveloped. Definitely recommend seeing it. ~ Marius B.
★★★★★ Tracey Pickup saw your performance at the Version 2.0, you were absolutely superb! We were at the front row!! You and Tim had us totally glued to it. Very well acted and delivered, intriguing little plays with the stories of the past and “present ebbs and flows intertwined together. Switching between humanoid and human personality at ease, gorgeous smile, so pretty, such a spectrum of expressions. You are so talented, all singing and dancing. Well done!!! Looking forward to see more of your theatre works in the near future! Will try and get your autograph before you turn into a superstar!! Hope the year of the puppies will bring you lots of great opportunities to show case your skills, wishing you all the best! Excellent work! Keep up the fantastic work! ~ Terry
Submit your review using the form below. We reserve the right to not publish any reviews that contain obscene language.
This interview with Kevin Michael Reed was published by MyTheatreMates.com
Version 2.0 stars Tim Atkinson and Tracey Pickup. It’s directed by Kevin Michael Reedand designed by Martin Scott Marchitto, with original music by John Kerfoot and costumes by Jovana Gospavic. It’s presented by Squire Lane Theatrical and follows the company’s sell-out in December with new British prison drama, Shadows, also directed by Reed.
Kashyap Raja, the playwright, first detailed the story of Version 2.0 to me about a year ago. I believe it was over pizza. For some reason, most of my meetings with playwrights are over some type of food, and usually some type of alcoholic beverage. We filled napkins with thoughts and discovered the initial seedling of what Version 2.0 was going to be.
He delivered his first draft to me about 20 days later. Over the course of the last year, Version 2.0 has taken many forms. Kashyap and I worked together to redefine the story to focus in on the themes that we believe are so important in our world. We held private readings with friends, industry folk and outsiders, and Kashyap went straight back to rewriting based on the feedback received and new things discovered. Over 30 drafts later, including several page 1 rewrites, Kashyap’s piece is ready for an audience.
Kashyap has a talent for creating beautiful, metaphorical and poetic language that is present throughout this piece, and layers of depth that give the creative team, actors and audience a lot to grab onto.
While Version 2.0 is very different from Shadows, I think it’s also very much the same. As a producer and as a director, I believe that my work should be more than just entertainment. Yes, I want to entertain and visually stimulate an audience, but the pieces that I choose to work on speak issues in our society that boggle my mind. They are issues that I feel need to be talked about.
Very much like Shadows, Version 2.0 is about old ideas that need to be spoken about in a world that is changing constantly. On the surface, this is a story about a man, a monster, who creates a robot to replace the woman that he can’t have. That sounds scary, doesn’t it? A submissive robot to grant you all your wishes?
Beneath the surface, It is a story about masculinity and the gender control structures that have been ingrained in us from childhood. It is about the worlds that we present on social media, false worlds, that affect how we act as human beings, and how that is dangerous. At the same time, it reflects on how the theatre presents a place to address these issues.Kashyap Raja has done something really spectacular with this piece, he has created a monster to place a magnifying glass on these issues. He makes you feel uncomfortable, scared and hopefully, after seeing the show, you will talk about it.
With the recent scandals in Hollywood, in London at the Old Vic, and with a misogynist president in the United States, who was elected by the people, I think Version 2.0 presents today’s issues of female consent and misuse of technology in an artistic and entertaining way.
Version 2.0 has many layers. It jumps through time and place with fluidity. I think the biggest challenge is finding the best way to keep an audience both entertained and to give them hints to where we are in both time and place. We’ve brought in composer John Kerfoot to score the piece, and are making use of some creative set (designed by my mentor Martin Scott Marchito), lighting (Matthew Carnazza), projection and costuming (Jovana Gospavic) elements to tell the story. The creative team listens to all my “big crazy ideas”, and then a couple of days later, comes back with solutions and plans to make them happen. Making that all fit together has been a challenge, we’ll see if I was successful when we open.
The actors (Tracey Pickup and Tim Atkinson) that we’ve brought together have been amazing. Tracey plays several roles in the piece making it a challenge to develop each of these characters individually. Tim’s experience as a trained Shakespearean actor has allowed him to adjust to the poetic nature of Kashyap’s writing with ease. He brings distinct vocal dynamics and a deep analysis of the text which makes him a pleasure to have in any rehearsal space. They are both very smart and talented actors, which makes my job easy from that perspective.
It does. I think it also shows a darker side to human relationships, and a scary side to more human-like AI that is programmed to “serve” and how that can be misused.
I haven’t, personally, had many scare stories. In my previous career as a fashion photographer, I heard stories every day from models that I worked with about the stalkers that seem to know them so well from their social media posts and have tracked them down. Everyone on social media is selling themselves, a lifestyle, and many times that lifestyle is a fallacy. In the wrong hands, I find that to be very dangerous.
I think social media combined with generations of gender conformity have warped our sensibility when it comes to the questions “What is love?” and “What is consent?”. The metaphorical world in the play represents a superficial nature of society and gender-based control structures that exist because of historical and present-day pressures. I think Kashyap forces us to ask questions about the perfect worlds that we present on social media, worlds that don’t actually exist, but present a truth that can be misconstrued.
Squire Lane Theatrical will present Kashyap Raja's new play, Version 2.0 at Leicester Squa...