by Lindsay Joy · March 15, 2014
As you may have realized, my faithful readers, I have my share of anxieties and fears. A healthy share- maybe a double portion. Here’s a thing that I’m finding myself thinking about again and again with this play: is technology going to date the shit out of it?
Plays are things to be produced, performed, said out loud. They are alive. They are also things to be read, and one would hope if the piece is good enough – that it will be read well into the future. So many of the themes I’m dealing with (suicide, mourning, unrequited love) are timeless, but some of the themes are of the right now. I’m a firm believer that we are working in the humanities- that we should provide a mirror to the right now of being a human. But man, oh man do I not want this play to sound like a period piece in five years.
I use Facebook in a few ways in the play- as a way for characters to vent, post, lie, mourn, and communicate. It’s also a way for me to comment on our lack of face to face connection. But- I think the Facebook ship is sailing. I heard a girl on the subway the other day say, “Oh yeah, Facebook- that thing that helps my Aunt annoy me daily.” And I had a moment. Shit. Facebook is the new MySpace, Friendster, AskJeeves…insert dead ass website here. If I lean on this particular social media as a plot device do I stick my play squarely in 2014? Is that a bad thing?
Structure wise, the play feels a little bit like the 80’s movie The Big Chill. A suicide brings a high school group of friends back to their hometown after they’ve all moved away and moved on. Some of the stuff I love so much about that movie is all very specific to the time it is set in. In the movie they reminisce about the things they used to love- music is a biggie. That soundtrack is still one of the best collections of Motown records ever compiled in my opinion. So- what do late twenty-somethings consider classics from high school? The dulcet tones of Usher, Lil Jon, and Ludacris singing “Yeah!”, or the deep, timeless lyrics of Hoobastank? Again- does dating a piece matter? Should I even think about it at this point?
I feel like I could use the very current feeling of the play to my advantage- I can actually use it to tell the story better. I think. Maybe instead of trying to figure out the the fuck the new Facebook is (hello SnapChat!)- I should just embrace the very very 2014-ness of the whole thing. So what if I end up with the theatrical equivalent of the Zach Morris bag phone in my play (I just dated myself!)? Who cares? It’s of the moment.