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Staged readings

Company of Fools will present two staged readings of 'Lifestyle of the Richard and Family' on Oct. 18 and 19.

HAILEY — Company of Fools will present two staged readings of “Lifestyle of the Richard and Family” by playwright Roslyn Helper — part of the Sun Valley Center for the Arts’ current Big Idea Project, "Marketplaces: From Open Air to Online." The first performance will be at 7 p.m. Oct. 18 at the Liberty Theater, 110 N. Main St., Hailey. The second performance will be at 2 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Community Library, 415 Spruce Ave., Ketchum. 

“There are two important things to know about ‘Lifestyle,’” Scott Palmer, producing artistic director of Company of Fools, said in a statement. “First, this play was written by a human playwright and an artificial intelligence program; in fact, we think this may be the first-ever human/AI-written play in history. Second, the play is a perfect way to launch a conversation about the uniqueness of human creativity and the future of artistic expression given the rising influence of artificial intelligence programs.”

David values his full-time job and gym membership and is having an affair with Clare. Maree likes to do her shopping online and has a drinking problem. Jimmy has just returned from the other side. Sam is a teen goth who likes welding. The story starts in a living room and ends in the deepest reaches of the black hole that is the internet.

Company of Fool’s staged reading of “Lifestyle of the Richard and Family” is directed by Company of Fools favorite Jana Arnold and features actors Aly Wepplo as Maree, David Janeski as David, Denise Simone as Clare, Chris Henderson as Jimmy and Kagen Albright as Sam.

This poetically absurd modern drama takes the most familiar truths and the most popular aspirations to a level of strangeness beyond comprehension, but is it a point of no return? Playwright Roslyn Helper partnered with SwiftKey Note, a predictive-text artificial intelligence program, to create a theatrical algorithm that asks us to consider the role that artificial intelligence plays and will play in our cultural lives.

Each performance will be followed by a discussion on the future of artificial intelligence and cultural expression with members of the cast and Dr. Christine Harold, professor and chair of the Department of Communication at the University of Washington. Harold teaches courses in rhetorical criticism, rhetorical theory and popular cultural studies. Her scholarship analyzes the politics of consumerism and explores opportunities for meaningful political action in a world increasingly defined by the logic of the marketplace. Harold's forthcoming book, “Things Worth Keeping: The Value of Attachment in a Disposable World,” looks at the relationship between mass production, product attachment and consumer waste.

The play is two hours in length with an intermission and is recommended for ages 16 and older as it does include some strong language and adult themes.

Admission to the readings is free, but a $10 donation is encouraged and reservations are recommended. To reserve seats for the reading, call 208-726-9491 or go to sunvalleycenter.org.

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