Reality or Nothing

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Emma: We can break into this man’s synapses. Imagine the wonder of it all. And if we wear our VR helmets we will live for hours at a time in the real past, the authentic past – and and – (Her voice, her expression change; a small shadow falls) and perhaps escape.

Fyodor (Quietly): Escape from what, Emma?

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Dennis Potter, Cold Lazarus

Cold Lazarus is the second part of Karaoke/Cold Lazarus, both being the last TV drama done by the late and formidable Dennis Potter (The singing detective and many other masterpieces).

I find Karaoke & Cold Lazarus to be Potter’s best achievement.

Karaoke is the story of an author, who is writing his last script; last – because at the end of Karaoke, he’ll be dead, just like Potter. While walking around in the city, the author encounters, or thinks he encounters, the characters he invented for that last script, an impossible event that drives him crazy, in particular because he is deeply in love with his heroine.
This is a most poetic, sensitive, imaginative, adorable, and definitely one of a kind TV piece. When I saw it, some ten years ago, j’etais époustouflé.

Cold Lazarus happens in the future. Somehow, the head of this author has been frozen, and now scientists, financially supported by the biggest media mogul (or goggul) at the time, are trying to replay the memories buried in this head. The media mogul dreams about the rating of that TV show.

Personally, I think that our digitization, our turning into real-time, digital objects, especially via web2.0 technologies and concepts, bares the dangers, the potential, of becoming the head of cold Lazarus, and it will not take long before media moguls will start to exploit our virtual selves for entertainment purposes.

But of course, this is shallow. Potter takes the story further, by questioning reality itself, presenting multiple layers of possible realities: the script, the head of the author, physical reality, virtual reality etc.

In Cold Lazarus, there’s a group of rebels who’d like to destroy the lab, the head, the virtuality and go back to physical reality. They are called RON (Reality or Nothing). Of course, they are as clueless as anybody else about what reality is.

 

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One Response to “Reality or Nothing”

  1. Some Dennis Potter Links « Mike Cane’s Blog Says:

    […] Reality or Nothing […]

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