Experimentation and playing is where the discoveries are made.
I decided to do a play on social media at the start of the academic year wearing both my teacher and parent hats. As a backpacker in the 90s I was someone who disappeared from the world for months at a time and knew the joy of rocking up to an American Express office to receive mail whenever I passed through a capital city. I began worrying about the amount of time students (and my own daughters) were obsessing over instant messaging where everything had to be had now, this second, instantly. There didn’t seem to be the art of patience (or invisibility) anymore. I was also concerned with how the anonymity of the internet could make normally polite young people say nasty things they wouldn’t dare say to someone’s face.
I came in to rehearsals with the idea of making a piece of theatre that was educational in dealing with some of the concerns I had with social media. However, the piece that emerged did not really end up the way I envisaged. Whilst some of the scenes dealt with the negatives of cyberbullying etc there was also a wonderful liberation in learning how to make the technology create a new type of theatre. In fact, the whole piece became a celebration of how creative the use of technology can be. As part of the drama and theatre curriculum at the Bangkok Patana School I teach mask, puppetry, design and storytelling from different world theatre traditions. Suddenly I have discovered how mobile phones, iPads and laptops can be used to do all these things as well – a theatrical tool for the modern world that can be witty, imaginative and a celebration of how we can use it to connect with each other in a spirited way.