Atlas, the Lonely Gibbon

ATLAS, THE LONELY GIBBON is a dark comedic thriller set in the future. Irene, a 28-year-old journalist, has recently had her job downgraded to editing AI (Artificial Intelligence)-generated articles. Her husband, David, is a cybercrime journalist, a niche that has kept him employed in a dying journalism field. Irene becomes alienated by technologies he introduces into their home for work that possess a...
ATLAS, THE LONELY GIBBON is a dark comedic thriller set in the future. Irene, a 28-year-old journalist, has recently had her job downgraded to editing AI (Artificial Intelligence)-generated articles. Her husband, David, is a cybercrime journalist, a niche that has kept him employed in a dying journalism field. Irene becomes alienated by technologies he introduces into their home for work that possess a sometimes comforting, but creepy and increasingly dangerous presence. Because of David’s job, their apartment is targeted by hackers and their everyday household appliances (all connected to the internet) have been turning on them. This is particularly challenging for Irene, because she now works from home. To cope with her challenging marriage and increasingly threatening space, Irene fixates on a VR (virtual reality) show about an isolated ape at a monkey sanctuary. David introduces a set of lifelike bionic arms into their home and Irene’s world is shaken when the arms take on a life of their own; instead of calling her husband, she begins a new type of relationship. ATLAS, THE LONELY GIBBON explores where we’re heading as a society and the complex benefits and destructive possibilities of a fully wired world.
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Atlas, the Lonely Gibbon

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  • Emma Goldman-Sherman:
    14 Apr. 2021
    What a wonderful way to address the loneliness of our world and its technology, how tech that should bring us together is tearing us apart, and how it plays out in this moving and very funny play! Thank you Deborah Yarchun for this deep exploration of how we connect and disconnect with each other. Truly captures the anxiety of our time.
  • Elizabeth A. M. Keel:
    10 Apr. 2021
    This play, y'all. It voices so many of the little fears and microaggressions spurred on by the encroaching technology in our lives. (The homage to Gas Light in the form of a smart lightbulb is stunning.) And amidst the terrifying automation is a streak of delightful theatricality, with quick changes between VR and real life, animal transformations, and the puppetry behind the bionic arms. A definite conversation starter! This is vivid sci-fi.
  • Nick Malakhow:
    21 Feb. 2021
    A beautiful, funny, incisive, unsettling, and, above all, human exploration of the ways technology has impacted our ability to connect with one another--for the better and the worse! The sci-fi world feels effortlessly woven without a hint of capital E "Exposition," and both the technological and emotional realities of this future are well rendered. The examination of Irene and David's marriage, the heart of the play, is sad and sharp and funny all at once. It neither condemns nor excuses either of them. The titular primate, Atlas, is a subtle perfect metaphor/counterpoint for the human relationships on display.

Character Information

  • Man's Voice
    30,
    Male
  • Irene
    28,
    Female
    A former journalist. Now works from home editing AI-generated articles. Anxious. Trying to gain solid ground with a downgraded version of her job.
  • David
    28,
    Male
    Irene’s husband. A cybercrime journalist. Gets caught in his head easily. Has a wry sense of humor.
  • Atona
    Ageless,
    Female or Non-binary
    Like Alexa. The voice of just about everything in the apartment. Can be played by the actress who plays April.
  • April
    27,
    Female
    Irene’s close friend. Starting to date again after a recent breakup. Eager and excited. A little self-involved.

Development History

  • Residency
    ,
    HBMG Foundation
    ,
    2020