G.O.4 was presented at the 1999 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Written by Kevin
Williams, it was hyped as a "Technodram",
or a presentation of visuals which included a "virtual" actor,
in the form of Richard as the title role of G.O.4.
The plot revolves around a group of G.O.'s, (general operatives) who find
themselves transfered, and stranded- somewhere in the vast space of a futuristic internet.
All forms of language as we now know them are gone, and they speak only
in "technospeak", a form of shorthand that was created for computer
They interact with their surroundings and one another, seeking power and
needing someone to lead them, they go through a succession of choosing leaders
among themselves, and rejecting each when they fail. When the water supply
begins to run low, however, things go a little crazy.
Their controller, one "G.O.4" could save them, if only they could
find and contact him.
Richard did not actively take part in the production, rather they filmed
him with a betacam set-up. While the actors played out their roles on the
stage below, Richard appeared on the screen behind them.
So the concept of the piece is- Richard appears on screen and people act
things out while that's playing.
Sound familiar? :)
One thing that I did find odd however, is that every bit of advertising
I have seen for this piece has not failed to mention that there is a "Virtual
Richard O'Brien" in it. And yet, on the official website for the show, Richard is not even listed among the cast or crew.
Review from the Evening News:
Lightning engulfed the audience at the start of G.O.4 - A
Technodram at Club West. And as thunder echoed through the speakers with
a resonance that could be felt, eight identical performers in eight identical
bobbed wigs took to the stage amid an eerie ultra-violet glow.
Kevin William's futuristic multi-media vision of a technologically dependent
world assaulted all of the senses simultaneously in an abstract barrage
of lighting, imagery, and physical theatre, and as monosyllabic noises emitted
from the Techno-babes the piece evolved into an unspoken tale of the dangers
The performers, looking like 21st Century Pan's People, worship
the God that is technology, but when the cycle breaks down and chaos ensues
as they each discover their own identity, can their deity - represented
by a virtual Richard O'Brien, in other words the star of the Crystal Maze
on film - restore their faith?
A constant stream of visual stimulation flows throughout from
the strategically placed screen, but the most intriguing aspect of this
production is the incorporation of sign language into the choreography.
Influences of the late Derek Jarman make G.O.4 one of the
closest things you'll see to one of his films in stage form, and love it
or hate it, it's guaranteed a cult following.