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The Wright Stuff Festival: Random Access Memory

Random Access Memory, also known as RAM, is an extremely fast type of computer memory which temporarily stores all the information that the computer will need right now and in the near future. And RAM, the third instalment of the Wright Stuff Festival, illustrates just how it functions, by personifying the computer’s process as it sorts out the memories of a 21-year-old boy who had just recently passed away in a car accident.
The opening scene is a short introduction to the many parts of a computer, with each component being represented by a single character. Breaking down the individual’s memory into separate unique functions not only made the play digestible for audiences with no knowledge of how computers work, it also created simple parallels between our human memories to the computer’s data memory.
In fact, the play asks a really simple question- Bin or storage? That is the main debate between the components, primarily Gig (Gigabyte) and RAM.  While practical, jaded Gig is concerned about storage space, RAM the passionate rookie is focused on the intangible value of each memory to the subject. We may be quick to relate to RAM’s emotional appeal, but the physical limitations of the storage system pose a complication. RAM’s passion comes at an incredibly bad timing, as the human repository is only a few memories away from reaching full capacity. When space runs out, all the parts in the system will expire and be replaced.
Apart from the parts of the computer, we were also given insights to the life of Jack the subject, as his memories are re-lived by the mother board’s graphic component. The debate is put on pause when the components finally come to an agreement- to simulate three Jacks from different stages in his life, allowing Jack to decide whether to keep or throw his memories away.
What the components hope to be a deux ex Machina however, does not give them a solution to their problem. Jack leaves the choice up to them, because his memories don’t need to be remembered by mankind-those who knew him will remember him.
In this year’s the Wright Stuff Festival, RAM stood out with its quirky style. Pop culture references were used to engage the modern audience. A possible nod to our (over)reliance on the online search engine, the system included a part called Google who is relied on to investigate random facts but left ignored by the other components for the most part. Japanese organisation guru Marie Kondo is also personified as the component in charge of keeping the system in order.
The lighting and sound design also provided a subtle reflection of the inner system of a computer, with the lights blinking red for instance, to match the sounds of a system failure. This, coupled with the use of mundane everyday sounds we hear when using a computer made the (system) setting believable.
Overall, RAM explores the significance of a single person’s story amongst a universe of memories, questioning how unique our narratives truly are. Perhaps our stories are not one-of-a-kind. But as Jack surmises, we don’t need to go down in history. We have made our own, and those who matter will remember.

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