PITTSBURG — The accessibility of technology is the groundwork for Pittsburg High School’s next social issues play.
PHS’s rep theatre class will have a few upcoming performances of Digital Natives at Memorial Auditorium. On Monday, the 20-person cast rehearsed the play that would give most people a nightmare — a day without a cellphone.
The play opens with high school students walking around mindless of the world as they stare at their smartphones. An announcement comes over the PA system telling the students to report to the gymnasium where they are prompted to hand over cell phones.
“I didn’t know they were going after our cell phones,” said Angela Ortega, who plays a freshman. “If I did I would have hid it.”
The cell phone cleansing was a plan devised by parents, faculty and a group of students who still remember losing two classmates who were taking pictures while driving.
“It obviously affected the (students’) life a lot,” said junior Coral VanBecelaere, who plays Jessica. “It influenced how they feel about cell phones. It’s why the accident happened.”
Jessica and a group of anti-cell phone students are quickly singled out by the pro-phone students.
“Free our phones,” the group starts chanting.
The cell phone ban was lifted by lunch, but Riley (Maddie Weidert) and Simon (Jared Wilde) had concealed their phones and already left school. Riley and Simon went as far as to leave town.
“At first, I was kind of hesitant of the topic,” Wilde said. “As we got into the topic, I feel like it is really relevant. People really are addicted to technology.”
Narrator Makayla Bockover gives the audience additional information and asks engaging questions about how to strike a balance between the good and bad of technology.
“I like it. I think it is fun because I am acting, but I am also talking to the audience,” Bockover said. “Most of the audience are going to relate. When I ask (the audience) questions, they are going to think about it.”
The performance will last about 45 minutes with another 20 minutes for audience members to ask the cast questions. Director Greg Shaw said the social issues plays started nine years ago. Topics have varied between bullying, drug addiction and now, technology.
“We are becoming addicted to our technology,” Shaw said.
The performance 7 p.m. Wednesday at Memorial Auditorium is free to the public. Performances for area high schools will be on Thursday at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. and finally a performance for PHS at 9 a.m. on Friday.
Performers are Makayla Bockover, Olivia Joy, Angela Ortega, Emily Paschal, Christian Jacks, Natalie Harris, Devon Coulter, Journey Jaramillo, Maddie Weidert, Jared Wilde, Maddie Baden, Matt Buck, Alexis Daniels, Aspen Lloyd, Malayna Brown, Will Jewett, Maddy Emerson, Cassie Hurt-McLarty, Macy Frasco and Coral VanBecelaere. The tech staff is Jon Commons, Tanner McCauley, Lydia Winters and Katie Painter.
- Michael Stavola is a staff writer at The Morning Sun. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @MichaelStavola1.