Cleveland premiere of 'The Nether' opens at Dobama

Both a twisting criminal drama and a haunting sci-fi thriller, “The Nether,” by Jennifer Haley, explores the consequences of living out our most shocking urges in the age of virtual reality. Dobama Theatre’s production of the play, directed by Shannon Sindelar, will run March 8–31.

In her play, Haley creates a possible future in which The Nether is a virtual wonderland that provides total sensory immersion. Participants log in, choose an identity, and indulge their every desire. But when a young detective uncovers a disturbing brand of entertainment, she triggers an interrogation into the darkest corners of the imagination.

The New York Times called the play “a parable for where we’re headed.”

“The Nether” was conceived at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center as part of the National Playwrights Conference in 2011. During its residence in Los Angeles, where it had its world premiere in 2013, “The Nether” won seven Ovation Awards for theatre excellence. It has been performed throughout the country and around the world, and was nominated for an Olivier Award in London.

In “The Nether,” Haley examines how relationships are affected by technology and addiction, and how these are detrimental to individuals, families and society at large. In an interview, she argued that technology—rather than being the focus of her play—is merely “an interesting way to examine these really limitless, long-standing, global questions of identity, and waking life versus dream life.”

Haley has said she hopes that the play will highlight the problem of addiction—something with which she has first-hand experience, as her father died of complications of alcoholism in 2013. 

Dobama’s production of “The Nether” features Sarah Durn, David Peacock, Matthew Wright, Calista Zajac and Joe Pine.

Performances are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2:30 p.m.

Call the box office (216-932-3396) for information or to purchase tickets, or visit

In an effort to remove economic barriers and make Dobama’s productions accessible to everyone, the first Sunday of every production offers a 7:30 p.m. Pay-As-You-Can Performance. For this production, that performance will take place on March 10.

Julie Friedman

Colin Anderson is the assistant to the managing and artistic directors at Dobama Theatre.

Read More on A & E News
Volume 12, Issue 3, Posted 1:09 PM, 03.03.2019