Next day delivery is great. It’s convenient, it’s fast, and you don’t even need to leave the house. Yet, what is happening behind the scenes for you to get your Amazon items on time? Fulfilment is a production by SharkLegs which takes real stories from Amazon workers and communicates those difficulties through an adorable puppet robot. Roblox is the audience’s new best friend, and through audience participation it has us customising it like you would your new Alexa. It’s reminiscent of the Amazon Christmas adverts, where a happy, singing box reminds families that presents are just a click away. But despite what Amazon projects to its customers, Fulfilment makes it clear that happiness isn’t equally shared.
The puppetry is fantastic, and it’s almost frightening to be so distracted by a funny and quirky character when the underlying issues were exposed mere minutes away. Technology is still rapidly advancing, and with the likes of the Amazon Echo and Google Home making their ways into family environments, Roblox is a perfect example of how a robotic algorithm can learn more about you than you know.
There are parts where the actors describe anecdotes of what real Amazon workers have told them, and whilst this seems like an incredibly important part of the show, it’s the only bit that is very chaotic. It’s understandable that the fast-paced, overlapped talking is to signify a lack of time or control, but considering the importance of what they are saying, it would have been nice for a selection of more direct monologues.
Fulfilment is progressive in making people aware of the issues behind consumerism. The actors take on a role of trust in exposing the idea that just because we don’t see what is happening, we should still be aware of where our goods are coming from and the conditions of the workplace in which they are stored and packaged. It’s a show that questions whether or not you really need that next day delivery, and highlights that the people behind the scenes are not robots themselves.