Following a sell-out run at VAULT Festival in 2018, Brilliant Jerks returns as a full-length production this spring at Southwark Playhouse. From innovative award-winning writer Joseph Charlton (Industry, HBO/BBC; ANNA X, Harold Pinter Theatre), the show is a fast, touching and scandal-driven show based on the creation of a multi-billion-dollar app.
In 2008, an entrepreneur leaves a tech conference in Paris. As he stands on the street, unable to hail a cab, an idea lands with the falling snow: tap a button, get a ride. Ten years later, Mia drives nights in Manchester, Sean is recruited as the brightest new programmer and Tyler moves onto yet another new future. This is the story of one brilliant idea, and the impact on the lives of many.
This mesmerising play follows the chain reaction of change, during a decade of fast-growing and unregulated technology, which has so profoundly affected our everyday lives. Inspired by the creation of infamous ride-hailing apps, audiences are taken behind the scenes of the big ideas that shape our modern-day society, from those at the top right down to those on the front lines day-to-day.
Focusing on how these great tech empires are seemingly shaped by a relatively small number of entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley, Brilliant Jerks is a timely and fascinating production. The intertwining narratives highlight how tech giants inadvertently not only alter our patterns of behaviour, but also shine a light on the dangers of ignoring the responsibility which comes with power.
Writer Joseph Charlton comments, Brilliant Jerks began life a few years ago when I was working as a journalist. I was interviewing drivers and office workers for Uber in London for an article and got fascinated by their stories. The play is about the beginning of the end of the tech boom era. There was a time only a little while back where “Uber” was almost a state of mind more than just a company: all of us wanted more, bigger, better, now. More convenience, more value, more lifestyle. I think we have a more complicated relationship now with the big tech companies than during their heyday five or ten years ago, but we still live with them in our pockets. This play is about the people behind the tech. It’s about a driver, a coder, and a CEO – and what unites or divides those people all working for one company, but living very disparate lives.
The cast and further creative team will be announced soon.
Brilliant Jerks is at Southwark Playhouse Wednesday 1st – Saturday 25th March 2023