Greetings, people of the internet! Sorry to distract you from your consumption of Amazon Prime, memes, and funny videos of animals close-up with a wide-angle lens. (And fear not! I promise to include a TL;DR for those of you who are far too busy, and can’t bother to read the entirety of this post.)
My name is Michelle – one of your friendly ensemble members from the cast of CDT’s “Consumed”! Before I begin rambling on about how our rehearsal structures and main showcase motivators were, I’d like to take a brief moment to give a shout out to my fellow spectacular cast mates. This is such a brilliant group of movers and shakers, and every one really had an integral part to the creation of this showcase. I have so much love, and respect for all of you ~ thanks for the wild ride these past couple of months!
The idea behind “Consumed”, as chirped by the previous blog posts, revolves around the idea of society’s obsession with consumption – be that of material goods, food, politics, news, or what have you. And honestly, what a better time to create something of substance than when our time period is at its most volatile? Whether you’re right, left, red, green or blue, these past few months have been absolutely twisted. I have seen friendships deteriorate, and family tensions rise just because of our current affairs… So, what about you, common internet stranger? Has your family dynamic changed due to the current political atmosphere? Have you lost friends? Has your view of the ones you love changed? My heart breaks for you, really. And yet, we all know in our gut that this is nothing new. Why are we having such a hard time accepting our differences? Everyone is so self-involved, worrying about their own damn survival, that sometimes simple things such as human empathy are overlooked. We worked a lot with this dynamic in the early stages of Consumed – creating characters based off of people we knew, people we despised, people we love(d). We have characters that mimic Fathers, Mothers, young college graduates, religious figures, the elderly/older generation, the youth, workaholics… I bet you know someone who fits in each of those character groups. Which one do you identify the most with? Maybe a combo of a few~? How would you describe yourself, truly.
So right around Election Day, I watched an old interview back from 2000 featuring David Bowie discussing the internet with BBC journalist Jeremy Paxman. Bowie quips, “I don’t think we’ve even seen the tip of the iceberg. I think the potential of what the internet is going to do to society, both good and bad, is unimaginable. I think we’re actually on the cusp of something exhilarating, and terrifying.” And you know what, he was right – the internet, particularly social media, is becoming such a HUGE part of our society. Having a Facebook is the norm, and if you don’t have one, there’s something wrong with you. I bet you have a Facebook, don’t you? What about Twitter? Instagram? Which one do you use the most, and why? What ads are displayed throughout your feed? Have you noticed how your friends, or even internet strangers act when they’re on social media? Have you ever “unfriended” someone because of the way they’ve acted/posted? Goddamn. Everyone, and everything, is just turning in to an insane hyperbole of themselves. Articulation, and genuine debate are a rarity; it seems to always be a “me versus you” type scenario, where everyone is wrong, and you are always right. All news is fake (unless, of course, it’s the article you’ve read and shared). Apathy is trumping empathy. How is this happening? Is being “right” better than being understanding? I bet you’ve gotten yourself in to an internet debate once or twice. How did it end? Are you proud of how you conducted yourself? Are all the words you type to someone on the internet, the same words you would say in person, face to face…?
There are so many unimportant things that distract us from our own realities; social media, television, clothing, food, booze, commercials/marketing, etc. Everyone has a crutch. So, do you know yours? What do you actively consume often, that you know you would be better off without? Are any of these distractions keeping you from genuine human connection? Do you know why you do it? Would you be able to disconnect from everyone, everything, for just a day, to sit with your own thoughts? Are you really just afraid to be vulnerable for once?
And with that said, I leave you with this; “We're all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other, but it doesn't. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities; we are eaten up by nothing.” ― Charles Bukowski
TL;DR: Don’t let the internet form, or influence your identity. Be your best self. Love others. Accept the beauty of difference. Find parts of yourself in others. And hey, disconnect from social media for a bit, yeah? See you at the show!