Monday, May 12, 2014

Devising Process - Technology Through the Ages

The ensemble of Pepperdine students attending the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer met for a week of intensive work-shopping to design and devise the piece that we will continue to develop and eventually perform on our journey in Scotland.

During this week the many thoughts and talents of our eighteen ensemble members kicked off our devising with a variety of possibilities. We had many discussions centered on technology and specifically looking into the pros and cons of the influence that technology has had on our generation and society. We watched a variety of TED talks and shared our own experiences and relationships relating to the root of our design. We used outlets of dance, spoken word, scenes, scenarios, musical compositions, and spacial relationships to personalize, experiment, and begin to build a piece of theatre.

A great source of inspiration during the week was a quote that was presented by Sarah, a designer in the company:
Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers” –Socrates
This led us to our most passionate topic of conversation and a series of important questions. Are we really so different as a generation dependent on technology, or has it been this way throughout time? A cycle of developments in society that the “elders” of the time view as reckless or foreign may just be a natural reaction to change? Or is the recent technological dependency really a new height, stemming from our growing loneliness and longing to mask ourselves in social interactions?

I personally believe that technology is a wonderful thing when used to seek connection to those we might lose otherwise, but it is very common for our youth to use it as a kind of barrier or mask when connecting with other people. This has created a society of lonely individuals not quite secure in themselves and clinging to technology as a crutch and security blanket. I do agree with the quote that Sarah found, and believe that this has been the case for generations. People, by nature, are going to cling to things that are new, exciting, and can offer a sense of security that did not exist before. The evolving society may be progressing and changing, but the human condition remains the same.

-Alexis Fitting

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