Euphoria in Unhappiness: Technology and Revelation in Jennifer Haley's Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom and The Nether


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Everywhere we remain unfree and chained to technology, whether we passionately affirm or deny it. But we are delivered over to it in the worst possible way when we regard it as something neutral; for this conception of it, to which today we particularly like to pay homage, makes us utterly blind to the essence of technology. Martin Heidegger, The Question Concerning Technology (1954)

In recent years, a number of American playwrights have been in conversation with issues surrounding our increasingly dystopic cultural landscape. Lisa D'Amour's Detroit (2010) and Airline Highway (2015), Dominique Morisseau's Skeleton Crew (2016), and Lynn Nottage's Sweat (2015) explore the dismal conditions workers face in our neoliberal economy, while Will Arbery's Heroes of the Fourth Turning (2019) interrogates theocratic tendencies in a rising cultural right. Jackie Sibblies Drury's Fairview (2018) and Jeremy O. Harris's Slave Play (2019) brutally attack the comforting mythology of our putative "post-racial" turn, challenging audiences at a moment when white supremacism attempts to legitimize itself in mainstream political discourse. A sense of doom permeates The Humans (2015), Steven Karam's eerie and atmospheric exploration of American anxiety. While warm and compassionate in tone, Karam's play traces the slow percolation of characters who are, as Samuel G. Freedman writes, "teetering on the edge of an elevator shaft."1


1. Samuel G. Freedman, foreword, The Humans, by Stephen Karam (New York: TCG, 2016), vi.

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