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Drama prepares to take play to Lenaea Festival

Photo by Conner Addison
Photo by Conner Addison

In 2012, 84 percent of respondents to a Time Magazine national poll said that they could not go one day abstaining from cell phone use, and more than a fifth of all people habitually checked their phone every ten minutes. Enter stage right: the drama department.

On Jan. 31, 11 drama students will premiere a stylized interpretation of the woes of the tech generation in front of over 1,000 other high school students at the Lenaea Theater Festival in Folsom.

“As we walk around the school, we see people glued to their iPhones, not looking up, not making eye contact,” Senior Zach Paulson said. “We don’t want to demonize technology because we depend on it so much. So instead, we’re saying that it may bring brief entertainment, but not actual happiness.”

Titled “Ex-text-ations” the show grew from unconventional roots. On the first day of the project, director Sheila Lopez asked the volunteers to keep a detailed journal chronicling their cell phone use over the course of a single day.

“We had to write down the time we used it, what we did, who we texted, what we said,” said junior Kelsi Ryan. “From all that insanity, we created a script.”

Although the show is monologue-oriented to smooth the potentially rocky culmination of so many different points of view, Ryan stressed that a successful monologue is about connecting with the audience in a way that transcends entertainment.

“I hope the audience reacts positively and feels entertained, but at the same time I hope they actually think about we’re saying,” Ryan said.

On Friday, the cast of Ex-text-ations will head to Folsom to attend the annual Lenaea Festival, where over 1,000 students representing 50 different West Coast high schools will convene to showcase their 30-40 minute productions. At the end of the night, the best performances will receive awards.

“We don’t want to sound preachy,” Paulson said. “It’s probably fine to have your laptop and iPhone and iPad there for entertainment and practical reasons, but it’s important to stay in touch with the real world.”

 

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Blake Alm, Author