Haunting, futuristic 'Nether' at Gamm


Gamm Theatre has become known as the place to go for challenging theatre.

If ever there was a challenging, haunting, unsettling, futuristic play on the theatre scene, Artistic Director Tony Estrella has found it in the form of Jennifer Haley’s “The Nether.”

Rich in symbolism, allegory and morality, the one-act sci-fi play takes us into the world of virtual reality, where things are not always as they seem. Sara Ossana’s set contrasts a black and white interrogation room with a room right out of a Victorian manor, where dreams come true.

Richard Donelly plays Sims, aka Papa, a man who has chosen to deal with his pedophilia by entering the realm of the Hideaway, where he can act out his “tendencies toward children” due to his “sickness that has no cure.”

Some may find this subject too unsettling and uncomfortable, but director Judith Swift has approached the subject carefully, raising many feelings about the subject, while also approaching it on an intellectual level.

Casey Seymour Kim plays the investigator who challenges Sims to the limit, using one of his clients (Jim O’Brien) to trap him. Ally Gower, a most talented high school junior, plays Iris, the virtual reality child who becomes emotionally involved with both Sims and his client (Jamie Dufault).

With the Internet evolving into “The Nether,” the interrogator worries about what will happen to those who become immersed in the world of virtual reality, raising a more universal question.

“The Nether” grabs you from the opening scene, holding your interest as the characters wrestle with a number of moral and ethical issues, and taking you to a twist ending that you did not expect…and may need a few moments to think about. Donnelly does his finest work as Sims, surrounded by four of Rhode Island’s best, all of whom have bought in to their characters.

“The Nether” is at Gamm Theatre through March 26. Tickets are $44 and $52. Call 723-4266 for reservations.


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