Award-winning coin heralds the return of Mago Hunt
Prepare to leave your computer screens behind for UP’s first in-person performance since March 2020. The cast and crew of You Cannot Undo This Action are aiming for social media, while avoiding the Zoom boxes for the Mago Hunt Theater stage.
Different from a typical full production, this performance is a staged reading. The performance does not include any blockage or scenography, just the actors sitting on stage, playing the dialogue and the narration.
The play, written by professional playwright and former UP Conor Eifler, recently won the Angus Bowmer Award for Drama at the 2021 Oregon Book Awards.
Eifler’s script follows a group of teenagers and their conversations online as they go about their lives talking about everything from philosophy to pop culture. The script also takes a critical look at the busy social media life of modern youth, with all the pros and cons that interconnectivity could bring.
“This is essential in the sense that we should reassess our own relationship with [the internet] and our dependence on it, âsaid senior Hannah Harrison. âThe question we asked ourselves is: ‘How do we want people to perceive [us] online and how does it differ from our offline presence? In this sense, be very critical of ourselves that we do to others. “
Harrison, a communications and theater major, stars as Lane, a character who forgoes the digital-dominated lifestyles of his classmates. Harrison’s own opinions on the internet and social media have found a voice in this role.
âI want to cherish the good in it,â Harrison said. “But at the same time, I see that there is so much wrong there too, and so much anger and danger.”
Eifler, as a non-social media user, described doing intense research before starting to write the play. Part of that included talking to real teens.
âI had a facilitated conversation with teenagers from Wilson High School on social media, tech and their perspectives. Some of their direct quotes ended up in the play, âEifler said.
Eifler echoed Harrison’s point, citing violent tirades on the 8chan bulletin board and the documentary âI love you, now dieâ as inspiration for exploring the storyline on the darker side of the internet.
“Those two things really came together for me to explore this deep sense of vulnerability to how social media and technology make us more dangerous, to see what we do with that sense of responsibility, or the lack of it,” Eifler said.
As heavy as the subject may be, the cast and crew are delighted to perform again in front of a live audience. As a current sophomore, Makenzie Binsacca has only performed on a digital stage during her UP career.
âI am so excited,â Binsacca said. âEven the rehearsal process was amazing, being able to look people in the eye and interact with them that way. And I’m very happy to have an audience back in the room with us, rather than just us at the Zoom meeting. â
Binsacca explained how a return to the theater in person rekindled something lost in a performance on a computer screen.
âFor me, theater is a very special art form because of this interaction between you as an actor and the audience,â Binsacca said. âYou exchange energy levels and emotions with each other. And it’s not just the actors that have an effect on the audience, the audience definitely has an effect on the actors.
Tickets for You cannot undo this action are available here.
Will Mulligan is a reporter for the Beacon. He can be contacted at [email protected]