Monday, August 15, 2011

Peak Performances and their Awkward Sexual Moments: dis connect

dis connect-April 2011-L. Howard Fox Theatre

dis connect, if you remember, was written and produced by the Class of 2011 Theatre Studies majors for their final BA project. The play discusses the over-indulgence of technology and that there is a time and place for such technology to be used. Interestingly, I've noticed that unlike my other contributions to this series, I don't analyze much here but rather summarize. I think it's because the awkward sexual moments in this play speak for themselves and are more relatable to the kind of events that take place today, so therefore there are emotional connections. In my other segments, I normally take the time to explain why I think certain moments are sexually awkward. Here, the moments don't necessarily need any explanation but are rather obvious.

*Beware of Spoilers*

Josh Wilde: I would like to take this time to thank the BA Theatre Studies Class of 2011 for providing me with a video that will from now on until further notice be the video mascot of “Peak Performances and their Awkward Sexual Moments.” Watch the video before you read what I have to say about it.

Josh Wilde is one of the first characters we meet in dis connect, and is also one of the funniest. He is a juvenile delinquent who is doing community service for an old temperamental woman named Betty. In the first scene we see him, he is bringing Betty groceries but then ends up telling her in slang about hooking up with a girl in a dressing room. Very random story to tell an old woman and a very spontaneous time to do so at that. Right when he is about to be released from his duties with Betty, Josh decides to cause a riot by dancing and stripping right outside her house, which is the scene you see in the clip. The scene performed on the stage is interesting because you see him stripping and dancing with a bunch of spectators filming him with cameras as the overheard screen that overlooks the stage projects the YouTube video. One of the guys filming says at the end of the scene, “This is going on YouTube,” which is exactly where it ends up in real life. Throughout the play he matures but also continues to become more awkward because he discovers that the girl he talks about in his first scene is actually Alice, Betty’s granddaughter and one of the prominent characters of the play! How does he find this out? Betty, who has no knowledge of them knowing each other, sets them up on a blind date. This blind date is their only scene together and all is revealed then. However, the story of Josh Wilde ends well as he gives Alice a bouquet of flowers and the two walk off together quite possibly kindling a relationship, after some awkwardness of trying to get away from each other, and reminiscing about his YouTube phenomenon.

Tyler’s Coming Out Experience: Unfortunately, the humorous awkward sexual moments end with Josh Wilde and the rest are pretty morbid. For example, Tyler DeChristopher is a gay man who is best friends with Alice and struggles with his sexuality. He corresponds with a man via online chat and until now has kept his sexuality a secret. He reveals it to the man online and the two share a bond, the man persuading him to finally accept who he is and reveal it to Alice, giving him inspiring advice. Tyler finds himself falling for the man and wishes to see his face. The man refuses to do so, causing Tyler to interrogate him. After some very intense dialogue, the man reveals himself to be a woman, revealed to the audience as Cassie, another prominent character in the play who is just as lonely as Tyler because technology has caused a rift in her family. After this revelation, heartbroken, Tyler plans to hang himself. Right as he is about to do the deed, Alice walks in and stops him. He tells Alice that he is gay and the two agree to help each other with their struggles. Tyler’s story is a really important addition because it hits home with current events regarding homosexuality.

The Tragedy of Jenny: Jenny's story represents the worst-case scenario when it comes to technology. Jennifer “Jenny” Maloney is a thirteen-year-old girl who has an estranged relationship with her mother Erika. Her father has died while fighting in the armed forces, which has contributed to Jenny’s rebellious behavior. Jenny is constantly on her cell phone on which she corresponds with a man she has met on the Internet and has not yet met in person, but plans to. At this point you know that the outcome of this story is not going to be a good one. Erika is oblivious to this, but takes away Jenny’s cell to punish her for texting during her father’s memorial. Erika’s plan backfires because once she does this Jenny runs off to meet the man, gets assaulted, and is unable to call her mother for help due to lack of phone, causing Erika to blame herself for her daughter’s coma. This scenario also causes the rest of the characters to think about the positives and negatives of technology. Finally, while Jenny is laying down onstage in her coma, she shows up on the overhead screen and has a monologue, which is suggested to be her inner thoughts. She ultimately decides that she would rather die than face her mother again, so she peacefully passes. The only thing I don’t understand about Jenny’s story is that in her final monologue before she passes, she states that her mother will never understand why she resents her father. Why does she resent him exactly? They never really give a clear explanation from what I can see.

For The Montclarion article about dis connect, click here.

Previously: The Grapes of Wrath
Next up: The Agee/Evans Project :)

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