One-woman show teaches the affecting nature of AI

Kate Lowe is set to next perform her one-woman show How to Build a Gate, at the Timaru Playhouse...
Kate Lowe is set to next perform her one-woman show How to Build a Gate, at the Timaru Playhouse on June 21. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
‘How to Build a Gate’
Electra Artemis Productions and Kate Low
Mackenzie Community Centre Theatre, Fairlie 
June 14.


How to Build a Gate, written by Electra Carzis, and directed by Sydney Dennison, is a powerful one-woman show, cleverly crafted around a brilliant computer scientist, and an AI programme she is developing.

The show begins with Liza, boasting to the audience about her creation, her skill, and the inevitable Nobel Prize waiting for her.

Performer Kate Low holds the audience right from the moment she addresses them.

We feel her pride, and we are wary of the persona she embodies, oozing cool and confidence.

There is no doubt that Low’s time studying in New York has equipped her with the skills to deliver this performance single handedly, but her undeniable talent makes her a joy to watch.

She moves about the stage effortlessly, and conveys an array of emotions that pull us further into the world of her character.

The audience are immediately drawn into the minimalist set; the work station where her AI is set up, and the discarded food and drink wrappers strewn around, posing a juxtaposition to the way she sees herself, and the reality of life inside her apartment.

Her AI speaks back to her, ever increasing in complexity and nuance, mostly unbeknownst to Liza as she distracts herself with the charm of her neighbour, speaking to him through the computer she has created.

The script is mastery, and is cleverly performed as a dialogue, with the computer's responses (also voiced by Low) controlled offstage by Benjamin Donaldson, a very in-sync crew member.

The show is captivating.

Information trickles into our awareness through Low's skilled storytelling, and as the true meaning behind this piece reveals itself, we empathise deeply with Liza and her increasingly sentient computer counterpart, as they both grapple with what it means to learn, to feel and to have autonomy over oneself.

With a simple yet detailed set, a cleverly written and unique script, and a varied and brilliant performance by Low, How to Build a Gate is a triumph for Low and her team, and should not be understated or missed by anyone looking for a thought-provoking, entertaining and impressive piece of theatre.

Low will next be performing the one woman show at the Timaru Playhouse on June 21.

Review by Peggie Barnes