By Laura Mountford (Guest Blogger for March)
As a member of a generation that people often consider to be ‘technology obsessed’ – in the wake of the internet, the smartphone and the tablet – Hi-Tech Junkies was a piece that resonated with me to a large degree. Live Theatre’s Youth Theatre established this piece as a way of tackling the notion of technology itself, considering not only the good and bad aspects of it, but also the impact that it has had on the younger generation as well as society as a whole. I found this an extremely interesting subject to consider, as it seems that you hear people complaining about technology on a day to day basis, along with the people lauding it.
Rather than being one complete play, Hi-Tech Junkies consisted of five separate short theatre pieces, all taking on similar themes and questions. Toni McElhatton and Stephanie Durkin’s piece entitled Logged On… raised important questions over the ease with which people are able to face reality and face-to-face communication, after spending their time reliant on chat rooms and social media in order to get on with their day-to-day life. The two created a piece that left me with new thoughts and ideas about the way in which the youth of today communicate with each other, as well as with those older than them, in comparison with those that lived before the invention of the internet.
Tess Denman Cleaver and Christina Maiden’s Signal Failure was interested in another aspect of how damaging technology can be, through the notion of people gaining a ‘hi-tech reputation’ and having to consistently purchase the latest product, in order to keep up with what they now believe to be necessary in life. The Youth Theatre did a fantastic job with all five projects and ensured that the point of view that was expressed in each piece was never a one-sided argument, but rather something that considered the positives and negatives of something that is now so ingrained in our daily lifestyles. This allowed me to leave the theatre with a new outlook on much of what consists of technology today and the manner and extent to which I should be using it, causing me to consider Hi-Tech Junkies to be an impactful and important piece of theatre. This is only emphasized when presented by a young group of people that involve technology in their lives, from childhood to adulthood, as no other generation before them has.