Google’s proliferation has made technology feel less like magic and more commonplace, like in 2004 when Gmail launched online storage limits, how much we could “save” of our lives—became obsolete. But Joseph Price’s fantasy became reality and his happiness soared.
Possibly a computer nerd, techie, and, definitely, a data junkie, Price keeps his one-man performance crisp, his attire simple, much like the clean lines on his computer projected display, like the late Steve Jobs’ presentations. Price could very well be leading up to a product reveal as he goes over the basic functions of multiple online operating systems. Instead, he’s just telling the story of a girl.
He marches through his social past, one chock full of dates, dinners, and drinks, in a data driven slide show made from his Google Calendar. Then, Yvonne crosses his path and his Calendar—and life—become a series of one-note “nights-in.” Looking back, he can’t differentiate one evening from the next until he triangulates information pulled from all his favorite websites (Gmail, Mint, and Last.FM). Then he can paint a complete picture of (and remember details about) their relationship: first meeting, last date, couples counseling, meals cooked together, etc…Except, no triangulation can pinpoint the moment he no longer wanted Yvonne or the moment he realized he missed her.
“Did I make a mistake?” he asks, “Was it me or her?”
Price is an ordinary guy who tells a decent story. At moments, emotions feel contrived: not surprising for a guy who looks to Google to understand how he felt months earlier.
Closes November 16, 2013
Part of fallFRINGE 2013
607 New York Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20001
1 hour, no intermission
Tickets: $15 – $20
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Because software can’t tell us why, this is the one question with which Price struggles. Bereft of joy, confused about love, he treks to France (for a cool $1400 over 5 days) as a semi-singleton, to find closure. Instead, he encounters guilt and learns, the hard way, that life’s one, true art is the ability to let go.
In that way, maybe unlimited storage hinders more than it helps.
Uneven at moments, Price seems a little unsure of how he wants to tell his story—as an IT lecturer (as it sometimes feels) or just a guy who’s had a bad breakup. But he’s creative in the way he tells it and, surprisingly, he keeps it intimate (not a word I often associate with Google) and interesting. His thoughts were worth an hour of time.
Operating System . Written and performed by Joseph Price . Directed by Amy Couchoud . Produced as part of fallFRINGE 2013 . Reviewed by Kelly McCorkendale.