Story by Darryl Laiu
Guns don’t kill people, people do.
That was the thought constantly running through my mind, as I watched USProduction’s Spring Production of The Dark Web on its opening night.
The play explores the mystique of what is known as “the dark web”, the hidden facet of the internet that can only be accessed through specific means and know-how.
But at its crux is really a story about the darker side of the human condition – what do people do when they know they are anonymous?
The play follows the lives of the Phua family, who get tangled up in a web of complications when they decide to use the dark web for various purposes. The acting of all cast members and their chemistry breathed life into every relationship. Scenes with Asyraf and Ahan were particularly memorable as their banter added a bit of lightheartedness into an otherwise sombre play.
Through every single character, we get a peek into the potential faces of users of the dark web and why people might get enticed by the anonymity. To this end, the ensemble were extremely successful as they give a particularly chilling performance of some of the content you might find lurking there.
Each line by Sreshya as a victim of torture was punctuated with fear, each shriek perfectly tuned to send chills up your spine. Zachary’s performance as the “host” of a “science show” caused goosebumps to slowly creep up my arms. Maybe it was just the costume, but the reflection of a twisted version of Hugh Jackman’s character in The Greatest Showman added to the discomfort I felt while watching the scene.
At the end of the play, it becomes clear that the dark web is just a tool. The unravelling of the relationships in the Phua family and their friends serve as a nice reminder that sometimes the darkness is not on the internet, but within us.
The Dark Web is showing at the National Library’s Drama Centre Black Box from 2nd to 4th Feb.