Theatre of Yugen and Five on a Match present SEEN / BY EVERYONE -
a clever mashup of the uniquely 21st century experience of mourning in the digital age of social media. The West Coast premiere consists entirely of found text of thousands of comments and posts pulled from a variety of social media platforms over two years collaged together. Endless gloating of lives well-lived coexist with heartfelt final goodbyes… in the era of over sharing. With elements of Noh theater. Directed by Nick Ishimaru.
Thu, Fri, Sat (7pm) Sun (4pm) Oct. 5 to 21
Seen / By Everyone is a mashup of the uniquely 21st century experience of mourning and moving on in the digital age of social media. Cat videos, photos of ultrasounds, proclamations of loneliness, and the endless gloating of lives well-lived coexist with heartfelt final goodbyes to, now, ghosts in the machine. What does it mean to live, die, grieve, and keep living in the era of over sharing?
Seen / By Everyone is an exploration of death and grieving in the hyper-connected age of social media. The play consists entirely of found text culled from social media. Over two years, thousands of comments and posts pulled from a variety of social media platforms were collaged together. Placed next to each other, they formed conversations, and through this process, distinct voices emerged. The five members of Five on a Match then created a play from these voices, all mourning in their own ways, set in a bar on the banks of the river Styx.
Seen / By Everyone was created as a piece of conventionalized physical performance, deriving movements from images found on Greek pottery. In this West Coast Premier, Theatre of Yugen and Five on a Match will partner to incorporate elements of Noh theater into a new production because of Noh’s close relationship to the subject matter and desired physicalized performance.
Seen / By Everyone uses found text to illuminate the intimacy of people’s online revelations and tells a story of how we are now returning to an era, like the Greeks before us, of public mourning. The play explores how this technology has turned all users into chroniclers of their own lives and the lives of others. It also highlights the humor found when there is no barrier between the heartfelt and profound and the banal and crass. A deeply felt remembrance of someone just passed away is butted up against the latest SNL clip-gone-viral. What that culture-mashing moment looks like is played out in real life.
Presenting Seen / By Everyone in San Francisco gives the people who are actively involved in shaping social media platforms a chance to hear the words of the people who use these platforms as a de-facto town square, a place to find connection in an increasingly transient society and raise their awareness of how their products impact society at large.
The San Francisco audience is, perhaps more than any other, uniquely situated to shape the next modes of social media. As the home of Silicon Valley and meeting place of hundreds of unique cultures, the Bay Area is the perfect place to continue refining this story of how we die, grieve and keep on living in the era of the over share. The Bay Area audience is prime because it includes those that are working at Facebook, Twitter, et al and are shaping our lives in ways that are incredibly powerful, but also many for whom social media is their link to a national voice. This production also seeks to explore how social media gives a platform for members of underrepresented communities to engage in a nation-wide dialogue. To engage them, Theatre of Yugen will continue to offer pay-what-you-can nights and reaching out to community organizations to offer free or discounted tickets. In presenting Seen / By Everyone, it will help that very technology become ever more empathetic and truthful to the lives of those that use it.