Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Play a Day: Rare Birds

Adam Szymkowicz
Yesterday, my friend Tracey Gilbert posted a review for Rare Birds by Adam Szymkowicz which is currently being produced by Red Fern Theatre. I held onto the review and bookmarked the play at New Play Exchange for this morning's reading.

This is a story of cyberbullying, the narrative is familiar -- every generation has its movies about conflict in high school -- but the tools are modern. My own children are slouching toward high school and I am not unaware of the uneasy and permeable borders between them and the outside world.

When I was a teenager, most kids sitting lone in their room would be alone in their room, with only perhaps a old-fashioned telephone to make connection with any of their peers. When my children are alone in their room, they have the illusion of privacy, but their phones and screens mean they may as well be in the middle of the street, they can be everywhere at once.

Szymkowicz presents a world of cruelty, not without its motivation, but with the violence and abuse that seems random until you understand its origins. The tale could easily end tragically without a fortunate puella ex machina which is the fantasy of every straight, teenage boy.

Reminds me of the tagline from the Mortified podcast, We're freaks, we're fragile, and we all survived. Except we didn't. We didn't all survive. says Tracey is "magnificent" is the Red Fern production at the 14th Street Y in NYC, which does not surprise me because she totally always is.

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