Engineering professor's play set to open at Fringe Festival

By Lisa Cimini, July 15, 2014
photo by John Bandler     Actors from left to right (standing): Andrea Adcock, Genevieve Jack, Steve O’Brien. Kneeling (centre): Brenna Rae MacNaughton.

Imagine a world of altered reality where the line between people and machines is blurred with digital surfaces and mind augmentation.

No, it’s not a world run by Google – it’s the setting of John Bandler’s latest play, The Trial of Naomi Verne, which opens July 18 at the Hamilton Fringe Festival.

The Trial of Naomi Verne is the Kafkaesque story of former president Verne’s nightmarish inquisition over unspecified crimes, told in a series of flashbacks.

“Nothing is what it seems living in this virtual world,” says Bandler.

It’s the third in a trilogy of sci-fi plays Bandler, a professor emeritus of electrical and computer engineering, has written over the course of 14 years writing fiction. The previous two were That The Multitude May Live and 59 Minutes in the Maxwell Suite.

Writing plays may seem far removed from engineering, but Bandler says it’s really not that disconnected – especially when writing about how computers and machines affect human behaviour, a theme woven throughout his latest play.

In fact, Bandler isn’t the only one from the Faculty of Engineering involved in the play: lab tech Peter Jonasson, a veteran of eight Olympic broadcasting crews, is doing the production’s sound effects.

David Harris Smith, assistant professor of communication studies and multimedia, is handling the play’s special effects.

The Trial of Naomi Verne will debut July 18 at the Hamilton Theatre Inc.

A full list of cast pictures and rehearsal videos can be found here.

Tickets: $10 click to purchase tickets

Venue: Hamilton Theatre Inc, 140 McNab St. N

Show Times:

Fri July 18 10:30 p.m.

Sat July 19 9:30  p.m.

Sun July 20 6:30  p.m.

Mon July 21 9:30  p.m.

Fri July 25 8:00  p.m.

Sat July 26 12:30  p.m.

Sun July 27 11:00 a.m.