This is the programme note from Error 404, which is about to open at Polka Theatre
Error 404 is a story about a boy whose friend has died, and what he and those around him do to fill the gap. It's also a series of philosophical questions that hopefully you'll go on thinking about long after the show is over. Some of those questions I'll ask during the show, some of them you'll ask yourself.
Philosophical questions are big, difficult questions that don't always have clear answers. What does it mean to be a person? What is 'goodness'? Are the mind and the brain the same thing? That sort of thing.
Two years ago I was asked to create a new piece of theatre for Polka that would engage with big philosophical questions about the world and our existence. That's not so easy! I spent a year as Philosopher in Residence at Pelham Primary School, visiting once a month, telling stories to the children and asking them philosophical questions like the ones above, directly related to the content of the stories. The stories that provoked the most intense discussions form the backbone to the show you'll see today.
I'd like to thank the pupils and staff at Pelham Primary for the warmth and generosity of their engagement with this project - without you it couldn't have happened at all. I'd like to thank the incredible staff at Polka Theatre, who've been so brilliant and supportive as this project has grown more and more complex! And last but not least, I am full of awe and gratitude for the extraordinary creative team who've worked on this project and helped me to make it real.
This show is about a boy whose best friend died. It's written by a boy whose best friend died. So finally, I'd like to say: Nick, this one's for you.
Pessimism of the Intellect, Optimism of the Will