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Florida Studio Theatre Opens Its Stage III Series With THE NETHER

Florida Studio Theatre (FST) opens its annual Stage III Series with The Nether by Jennifer Haley, a dark, futuristic play exploring the moral, ethical, and legal implications of virtual reality. Called "Relentlessly gripping" by TimeOut London and "Gasp-worthy" by The New York Times, this thrilling drama imagines a digital world that provides its users with total sensory immersion and no rules: The Nether. When Detective Morris discovers "The Hideaway," a secret realm within The Nether offering its visitors a disturbing brand of entertainment, she launches an investigation into the complex morality of the digital world. Winner of the 2012 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and nominated for the 2015 Olivier Award for Best New Play, The Nether will run in FST's Bowne's Lab Theatre starting January 15.

The Nether is part of a three-show subscription package. Also included in the Stage III subscription package is Kunstler, a Regional Premiere about civil rights lawyer William Kunstler, and Paralyzed, a World Premiere about fate and the power of forgiveness. Subscriptions for all three Stage III productions can be purchased for as little as $49 at (941) 366-9000 or floridastudiotheatre.org.

"As virtual worlds become more immersive and all-consuming, lines between what is real and what is not become thinner," said Eric Gilde, who plays Woodnut in FST's production of The Nether. "The play asks, is a harmless role-playing of harmful behavior, in fact, harmless? Is it a safe way to explore and release impulses and urges? Or does it, in fact, exacerbate and cultivate those feelings, making them more likely to happen outside of a virtual setting?"

"I'm interested in technology because it is giving us a way to live alternate lives," shared playwright Jennifer Haley in an interview with American Theatre Magazine. "I'm very interested in identity and how people perceive themselves. For me, technology is just an interesting way to examine these really limitless, long-standing, global questions of identity, and waking life versus dream life."

FST Associate Artist Jason Cannon, whose directing credits include Handle With Care, The Cottage, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder and Hand to God, is directing The Nether.

Bringing this riveting play to life are Anique Clements (FST Debut), William Thomas Evans (FST Debut), Eric Gilde (FST Debut), Leah Greene (FST Debut), and Sam Mossler (How to Use a Knife, Other People's Money). Clements plays Detective Morris in The Nether. Last year, Clements performed in Great River Shakespeare Festival's productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream, All's Well That Ends Well, and Shakespeare in Love. In The Nether, Evans plays Papa/Sims, the creator of The Hideaway. Most recently, Evans played Max Prince in Laughter on the 23rd Floor (Saint Michael's Playhouse) and Mr. Mushnik in Little Shop of Horrors (ACT of Connecticut).

Gilde has performed in New York and at regional theatres across the country, including the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Pioneer Theatre, Syracuse Stage, and Arkansas Repertory Theatre. Greene plays Iris, a young girl who exists in The Hideaway, in The Nether. Greene was on the national tour of The Sound of Music and the international tour of Sister Act. Mossler, who was last seen in FST's production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, plays Doyle, a middle aged science teacher who uses The Nether.

The Nether opens FST's 2020 Stage III Season, and begins January 15 in FST's Bowne's Lab Theatre. Single tickets for The Nether and subscriptions for all three Stage III shows can be purchased at (941) 366-9000 or at floridastudiotheatre.org.


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