A new play centered around the history of underground narcotics website The Silk Road is the very first theatre production funded entirely by cryptocurrency. Written by Alex Oates, an alumni of Old Vic New Voices, the play debuted at the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
After a short hiatus, the Silk Road play is now back, and is focused primarily on the troubles and struggles of notorious Silk Road operator Ross Ulbricht, who was sentenced to two life terms for his involvement with the illegal narcotics website. The Silk Road play, which functions as a dramatization of the events leading up to his arrest, is a testament to the less-than savory elements that contributed to the success of Bitcoin as a currency.
The play is Oates’ attempt to fuse a loose morality narrative with tech-politics, and was crowdfunded on multiple different sites. Interestingly, the production team even attempted to gather funds from individuals that participated in the original Silk Road website, and received two Bitcoin for their solicitation.
According to recent press reports, Oates now holds a diversified crypto portfolio worth more than $40,000, which is being used to fund the play. Alex Oates describes himself as somebody who was already interested in the development of Bitcoin prior to the drama of the Silk Road trial, but identified the opportunity for a story after hearing of Ulbricht's conviction.
The tale of the Silk Road and Ulbricht’s personal journey is an integral element of Bitcoin lore. The story itself has many elements that capture the attention of mainstream media- narcotics, forbidden websites, and the scary, dark underside of the internet.
The Silk Road play stars UK television actor James Baxter, and follows the life of Bruce Blackmore, a fictional working-class North Eastern Englishman that lives with his grandmother. Reviews of the Silk Road play have referred to it as “a host of unforgettable characters … [a] pitch-black comedy for the Bitcoin generation.”
The narrative follows Blackmore through his descent into the shady underworld of the darkweb narcotics trade, drugs, and law enforcement, accompanied by his quintessentially British grandmother. The Silk Road play will launch once more at the Vault Festival in 2018, and will run from January 24th to the 28th at Shrapnel Theatre.