Reality is bleak in Jennifer Haley’s award-winning play, The Nether—a story set in a colorless, dystopian future. Within this barren world, however, lies a seemingly effective antidote—a virtual reality (the Internet’s successor) known as the Nether, where users can assume alternate identities, leave behind their familiar grim realities, and satisfy whims unavailable to them in their actual lives. There is, of course, a fundamental problem with this solution: the scope of the experiences it offers participants—experiences that, in some cases, would be illegal in the real world. One such space, the Hideaway, becomes the subject of a young detective’s investigation and the focal point of Haley’s narrative. This pocket of the virtual world is particularly inviting, replete with lush vegetation and warm sunlight. But the welcoming environment masks a much darker, sinister purpose. What ensues is a story—part sci-fi, part crime thriller—whose setting alternates between a gray interrogation room and the colorful beauty of the Hideaway. Through her interrogations, Detective Morris seeks to unveil any actions in the virtual world crossing over into reality, while also embarking on an ethical investigation. Through her play, Haley has crafted a fascinating exploration of morality and technology in a world where reality has become hauntingly relative. The play runs April 4 to May 1 at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, 641 D St. NW. $20–$68. (202) 393-3939. woollymammoth.net.