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2nd Jul, 2022

Student-turned-playwright explores love in the digital-age

LOVE in the digital age is explored in a new play by a former Stratford student.

Former drama student Michael Rivers returned to Stratford College to stage a one-night performance of ‘Love Lab’.

The play was inspired by an experiment conducted by psychologist Arthur Aron, in which he devised a series of personal questions to try and create a sense of intimacy between total strangers. The play recounts a reality TV show in which two people are locked in a room for one week, with the questions put to them to influence their relationship and ultimately make them fall in love.

The play has been performed in various London venues, including the West End.

Michael said: “It’s like Love Island meets Black Mirror. It asks ‘do we really know how technology is affecting us?’. Having a conversation by typing on your phone is now much easier than actually talking.

“My character is very anti-technology so I tried to withdraw from social media. I discovered that I felt like I’d been left behind which is awful because obviously I hadn’t at all. I really wanted to feel what the withdrawal from social media addiction is like.”

He also put on a students-only performance the following day followed by a workshop.

Assistant head of the department Claire Morley praised Michael for demonstrating to current students what could be achieved if they put their minds to it.

Michael – who described his former teachers as ‘inspirational’ – said independence was the key to success.

He added: “They can all have a place in the industry if they work for it. It’s not going to come and find you though. I want to show them that they can create their own work.”

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