Challenge

Sebastian Rex wrote a conundrum about language and I think we have to write a play about it.

Response

I set myself my own mini challenge this year, to see how many plays I could fit Sebastian Rex into. I’d managed to get him into Challenge 7, albiet as a disembodied voice and potential Zombie.Given how much I enjoyed reading Sebastian’s conundrum that he sent us, for us to translate into a challenge, I decided to use it as the main bulk of dailogue in this play, with a few edits from myself.

Smiling Poo Emoji

Result

Words

Lights up on Sebastian Rex, he is sat at his writers desk, with his legs crossed and arms folded, staring at his laptop. The images on his laptop are projected on the screen behind him.

On the screen is a Twitter feed of tweets directed at the Space Arts Centre.

The first one is from Headmaster Johnson and reads

OK Kids, what did you think of today’s theatre trip? Use the Hashtag #TheatreTrip

Sebastian scrolls down to read the tweets from the school children who attended the trip, which are displayed behind him. The tweets read as follows.

#TheatreTrip #Boring

Never ben so bored in ma life #TheatreTrip

Sleeping Emoji #TheatreTrip

They Wuldnt SHUT UP #TheatreTrip

Nothing happened. they just stood there and talked #theatretrip

I’d rather look at some musem #TheatreTrip

It was just words #TheatreTrip

If I wanted to stare at someone talking, I would have stayed @ school #TheatreTrip

So boring #TheatreTrip

That’s 5 hours of my life I won’t get back. Least felt it like 5 #TheatreTrip

All they did was talk, they didn’t shoot anybody #TheatreTrip

Too Many Words #TheatreTrip

That last tweet is retweeted several times and comes up on repeat on the screen.

Too Many Words #TheatreTrip

Too Many Words #TheatreTrip

Too Many Words #TheatreTrip

Too Many Words #TheatreTrip

Too Many Words #TheatreTrip

Too Many Words #TheatreTrip

The tweets are quoted with students simply posting emojis on top of the retweeted tweet. Emoji’s range from the laughing face, crying with laughter face, angry face, sticking tongue out face, winking and sticking tongue face, and the final emoji is the Smiling poo faced emoji.

The next few tweets are as follows.

Smiling Poo Emoji #TheatreTrip

Smiling Poo Emoji #TheatreTrip

Smiling Poo Emoji #TheatreTrip

Smiling Poo Emoji #TheatreTrip

Smiling Poo Emoji #TheatreTrip

Smiling Poo Emoji #TheatreTrip

Smiling Poo Emoji #TheatreTrip

Smiling Poo Emoji #TheatreTrip

Smiling Poo Emoji #TheatreTrip

Smiling Poo Emoji #TheatreTrip

Smiling Poo Emoji #TheatreTrip

Sebastian closes the laptop, thus ending the barrage of tweets on the screen.

Sebastian:    So we apparently live in a post-truth age, an age where we abbreviate words and compound couples into one term. An age where shorter is better and emojis – fucking emojis are developing a life of their own. Apparently everyone’s a critic if they post a poo-faced emoji on twitter. Well, who has time to complete full words?! We’re all going to die soon!

He shoves his laptop away from him.

What does that mean for us writers? Where is language going? How do we tell stories? How do we write characters? How do we convey ideas? What is language now – and more importantly, what is it going to be? Maybe I should just write a play with nothing but emojis- is that what people want? Is that what the “youth” of today want? I mean, they’re making a fucking emoji movie, so I guess they do. Maybe I should write all my plays with fucking emojis now.

Pause

How do young people talk now? And how will young people talk in the future? How do we use language? How will we use language? I’m probably asking more questions than I am capable of answering…

Beat

…But I trust each one of you to find your own answer, without me giving you too many pointers.

He opens up his laptop and the projection on screen appears again. Sebastian opens up Twitter. He starts typing furiously, with the words he says out loud appearing as a series of tweets, with #TheatreTrip at the end.

Let’s see you people do better. Show me what you want. Maybe it’s about writing a short play – or maybe exactly the opposite – long-winded writing making a comeback. Short scenes or really long ones?Maybe you need to make up some words. Hashtag YOLO. Perhaps it’s all about photographs. Gosh. A play constructed of selfies? How would that work? Or maybe… just maybe… you’ll dare to bring back the emojis for another go! I don’t know. I’m probably not young enough to know what the current writing style trends are, and certainly not clever enough to know what the future holds for them – so I leave that to you. Because you are all so much cleverer than me.

Pause

Smiling Poo Emoji  #TheatreTrip

That final tweet gets a retweet instantly… then another, and another, and another. The retweets keep on coming as the lights slowly come down.

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