Fall play drops teens imbued with artificial intelligence into high school

Saint Michael's Department of Fine Arts staging contemporary comedy/drama directed by John Devlin

October 20, 2022
Faculty/staff report
Devin directs

John Devlin directs two actors at a rehearsal of the fall play recently (photos by Peyton Edwards ’23)

The Saint Michael’s College Department of Fine Arts-Theatre is presenting Nothing is the End of the World (except for the end of the world), a contemporary comedy/drama by Bekah Brunstetter on November 2, 3, 4, and 5 at 7 p.m. in the McCarthy Arts Center Theatre. Directing the production is Professor John Paul Devlin of the Fine Arts faculty.

Set in the present or near future, this play features a charter high school in Manhattan that is welcoming two new students to the junior class. These are not ordinary students, and the whole experience is part of an experiment to research if and how human beings react to and relate to (or not) individuals imbued with artificial intelligence. To ensure a little more publicity for the experiment, a film crew is brought in to record a pilot reality TV show about the experiences of the two AI students as they discover life as average 16-17-year old teenagers live it.

Devlin notes that “in the 10 years since the play was written, society has continued to see the impact of artificial intelligence and algorithmic analysis of data swept up by social media leading to targeted marketing. We have also (mostly) got through a pandemic which amplified our reliance on technologies.” The cast and crew are drawn from across the College and have been engaged in building and rehearsing the production since the beginning of September. The play’s themes touch on many coming-of-age issues faced by students today, and the playwright tweaks our self-conscious awareness of our exposure on social media throughout the production.

scene 2

Another scene from a recent rehearsal.

This production features the work of faculty and students and guest designers: Peter Harrigan (costume design) and Devlin (scenic and lighting design as well as director) and Julia Moriarty (sound design), Kailey Palmer ‘26 (stage manager), Eli Densman ’26 (assistant stage manager), and Cassidy Mutter ’26 (assistant stage manager).

The cast for the show includes: Kenzie Rowbotham ’24 (Jessica), James Murphy ’24 (Danny), Matthew Tupaj ’23 (Kit), Anna Paradis ’26 (Lucy), Sadie Chamberlain ’24 (Esther), Keira Comtois ’26 (Emma), Aimee Turcotte ’23 (Olive), Liam Ravan ’26 (Godfrey), Sarah Calvin ’25 (understudy) and four special guest appearances by members of the Saint Michael’s community as “The Voice.”

These shows are free and open to the public.

back house

From the back of the house at the recent rehearsal.

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