I’ve been to my share–and likely yours as well–of small plays in New York. So I think I have a decent background to draw upon when viewing one.
At an hour and 20 minutes, Troll was at least a half hour too long–not because it felt long, but because there was a scene of at least a half hour that had nothing to do with the rest of the play. Granted, this scene was done well and was perhaps the most interesting (albeit uncomfortable, since it was just 2 exes fighting), but it didn’t carry the plot forward even a little.
The rest of the play was based off of a real-life Reddit troll-unveiling via Gawker. In case you don’t want to read the whole thing, essentially, Violentacrez was a troll who maintained subreddits on a number of obscene things, like pictures of underage women and an incest forum. A Gawker employee posted an article with his real name. That’s about it.
But of course that’s not really it, because there are other layers to explore here. The play tried to hint at some of them–free speech vs. illegal content; the right of individuals on the internet to keep their anonymity–though after reading the article, I felt the play didn’t add much to what I’d already read.
The most intriguing thing to me was a mistake. In the article I couldn’t stop reading the troll’s name as Violent-crantz, a la Rosencrantz. (It’s supposed to be pronounced Violent-acres.) Does that have some sort of significance? Can I create a parallel between this internet character who made strangers angry with his vitriol and the Shakespeare character who was unwittingly leading Hamlet to his death? Is there something to be said about the troll claiming he wasn’t really doing anything wrong, and Rosencrantz’s seemingly ignorant role?
If there is, I’ll let you draw it out, because I don’t know enough about Hamlet or Reddit to speak intelligently on either.
What I will say is one of the most frustrating things to me is when you can see the unrealized potential in front of you, and Troll did that to me. It was either a half hour too long, or not long enough, but either way, I left feeling a bit like I’d been trolled.
Was that the point?