Been on the job too long: past and present visions of a folk crime

Charlton, James Martin ORCID logoORCID: (2014) Been on the job too long: past and present visions of a folk crime. In: Stage the Future: The First International Conference of Science Fiction Theatre, 26-27 Apr 2014, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham Hill, TW20 0EX, UK. . [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Been on the Job Too Long is a new short play which tells – and tells and tells again – the story of a barroom shooting which actually took place in 1890 in Missouri, a crime which is the basis for the folk song Duncan and Brady. The play shows us the crime in its original setting then resets it in the 1970s and, futuristically, late in the twenty-first century. In the third retelling, two of the characters are AI machines yet the song remains the same.

The play is a meditation on human and post-human nature, challenging notions of change and staging the idea that human-invented machines might not transcend human stories. In the piece, the three characters – murder victim, framed convict and actual killer – tell their stories as befits style of their period, just as a song might be distributed in sheet music, vinyl or digital form, depending on current technology. We meet characters from the past and the future repeating the story's tropes in very different forms of physical and verbal self-expression. In the futuristic version, new forms of speech have been developed for the post-human characters.

Excerpts from the play will be performed by a professional actor alongside a short introduction by the author/director in which he will contextualise the performance as well as briefly explore the reasons for, methodology used in and challenges of writing/performing AI characters.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Areas: A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Media
Item ID: 27708
Useful Links:
Depositing User: James Martin Charlton
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2019 15:41
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2022 18:03

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