More and more, our relationships are conducted textually, sometimes while in physical proximity. In preparation for Monday's "Diane Rehm Show," I've applied these pertinent developments to the ultimate three-dimensional, voice-and-action, person-to-person format: the theater.
Will the direct communication, sometimes lengthy, so characteristic of older plays, especially since the triumph of realism, simply atrophy? Will it all be boiled down into tapped-out acronyms and abbreviations and emoticons? How can the wordy emotional tussles that fill the collected works of Eugene O'Neill, for instance, even be understood by 21st-century audiences?
I see the need for adaptations, involving actors (to keep them from idleness and despair) tapping out provocations and responses to each other as the texts pop onto a nearby screen facing the audience in real time. Perhaps actors will be trimmed out of such productions altogether (shudder!) in order to uphold the purity of the screen. Mercifully, given the coded format, performances will be shorter. Social media doesn't have much truck with the past, so O'Neill's artfully interwoven scenarios, so laden with memory, may be SOL. We're in for a bumpy ride, folks. Maybe we'll be seeing this sort of thing at the Indianapolis Theatre Fringe Festival in a few years.
|How will the Tyrone family communicate once texting triumphs absolutely?|
Mary: More $ on another property? : - p
Tyrone: Good investment, IMHO.
Mary: FC. Worried abt Jamie's summer : - ~ ).
Jamie: *koff* *koff*
Tyrone: UR upset.
Mary: No! > :- [! Hush! They're coming F2F.
Edmund: Mama looks bad 2day.
Jamie: MTE. RBTL. She's a hophead.
Tyrone: Turn lites off. Not made of $!
Jamie: OMG. There U go again! EOL?
Tyrone: Always on the Old Man, RU?
Jamie: SITD! Haha! (VBG)
Tyrone: Had GR8 hopes 4U once. : - <
Jamie: OIC. Wanted me 2 follow Ur lede IRL. Well, STBY, no? 1 career, 1 role!
Edmund: STFU! *koff* *koff*
Tyrone: I grew up poor, TYVM. Worked hard 4 $! SH! And U think we're just NP, after all we've done, all we've dreamed 4U.
Jamie: ROTFL. WEG.
Edmund: U ROTF % - }
Jamie: We're both SOL, bro.
Mary: ILY all. XOXO, BRB.
Jamie: TTYL. SWAK!
Tyrone: Wretched POV! InGR8!
Tyrone: OMG! : @ In the gutter, more like.
Edmund: % - ( No trust from her. She C's it in our I's.
Tyrone: MTE. UB fine, Edmund. State sanitorium 4U!
Jamie: 2 cheap 4 something better, RU?
Tyrone: &U! : @ GAL! U have talent.
Jamie: THX. >: - ^
Edmund: (CYA, everybody!) *koff* *koff*
Tyrone: % - }
Jamie: % - } % - } :`- (
Edmund: FWIW, it's F2F — she's down here again. :- (0) WTF! She's carrying her wedding gown.
Tyrone: OMG % - } ! Cruel F8!
Mary: 2 my piano, FWIW. My hands R not GR8. Nuns who taught me, WYWH. We're all SITD now. YOLO, dear 1s. DTRT B4 it's 2 L8. YOLO.