Indeed technology is the great colonizer of our time, changing societies so rapidly that its effects are still relatively unknown. In many ways it’s still a wild frontier, and in a sense Chandrasekhar has written a cautionary tale to the future. To us.Kelly Thornton - Director
If you live in Toronto or happen to be visiting please take in this important production about the dangers the digital age presents to our youth. I wish I could attend.
PLEASE share this post so they get as much publicity as possible. I love it when artists use their talents to educate and inspire us.
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Nightwood Theatre presents:
By Anupama Chandrasekhar
January 28–Feb 16, 2014
Factory Theatre Mainspace
Anusree Roy stars in the North American premiere of the Royal Court hit which asks the timely question: How can we protect our daughters in the digital age?
(Toronto)—Nightwood Theatre kicks off its 2013/14 season with the North American premiere of the Royal Court hit, Free Outgoing by Anupama Chandraskhar at the Factory Theatre Mainspace from January 28 to February 16, 2014. “A gripping and insightful play” (Time Out), Free Outgoing tracks the fall-out of a text messaging scandal. With gut-wrenching intensity and a sharp wit, Chandrasekhar brilliantly dissects the clash of tradition and modernity in her culture and confronts the timely issues of sexuality and safety in the digital age. The play centres around Deepa, a high-achieving 15 year old from a middle-class Tamil family in Chennai, India. When her boyfriend records them having sex on his cell phone and sends the clip to a friend, the video spreads like a virus. She becomes the “most watched teenager in India,” and is expelled along with her brother from their private school. Malini, their widowed mother, is besieged by media and crowds, and a national crisis of sexual and technological values ensues.
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I’m thrilled to present the North American premiere of Anupama Chandrasekhar’s Free Outgoing. I first heard of the play in 2007 after its celebrated world premiere in London at the Royal Court Theatre. I’ve been inspired to share it with my audience ever since.
Early on in the process, we discussed whether to set the play today or to place it 7 years ago, when it was written. So much seemed relevant and pertinent to today that we first leaned in this direction. Later we finally arrived at a decision to keep it in 2007 as we realized the play represents the birth of “viral” as a concept in our new world. Just how much has changed in this short period of time is astonishing. The world of the play sits on the precipice of a technological blast off where now Twitter and trending, Instagram, smart phones and sexting are much more than just a part of our vernacular. We have created a world where lives can be changed overnight.
Indeed technology is the great colonizer of our time, changing societies so rapidly that its effects are still relatively unknown. In many ways it’s still a wild frontier, and in a sense Chandrasekhar has written a cautionary tale to the future. To us.
This play is based on a consensual interaction, where gross naivety has extreme ramifications. Chandrasekhar’s portrait paints a violent clash in her culture between rampant technology and traditional values. It also breathes into the double standards by which women and girls’ actions are judged. But this is sadly not isolated to India. It is much more a global phenomenon, where a girl’s mishaps, exposed on social media, can destroy lives and even lead to suicide. And this doesn’t even take into account the non-consensual experiences of girls, where social media has ignited abusive campaigns and led to tragedy.
As I raise my daughter, a beautiful six year-old little girl, this play punches me in the gut. It also wakes me up. All of us have to search for better ways to protect our daughters in this new digital age.
Thank you for sharing this powerful work with me.
Enjoy the show.