This play is a series of monologues and short scenes, disconnected in their narrative but strung together with a common theme: the experience of being seen. Social media, for all of its effects on the human psyche is particularly peculiar to me in this way; it allows a person to be both the actor and the audience in their own life. Not only does one have to be cognizant of what they are doing but also how they look while they are doing it. It is not enough for one to buy a house or go out for dinner with friends, you also must do these things while you observe yourself from outside your own body. It is the act of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes not for the purpose of empathy, but of examination and critique. You are the watcher, the censor, the critic. Life is not just about content anymore, it is about form and composition, it’s about performance. That is what brought me to this play. During my studies at Bridgewater State University, I was enamored by a theatre practitioner that goes by the name of Bertolt Brecht. A German theatrical theorist and playwright who wrote plays under his theories of “Alienation.” Alienation is the act or distancing your audience from the play, so that instead of being swept up in the drama and the stakes of the piece, you can think critically of what you are observing on stage. It was categorized by the relationship that the performers had with the audience. Often interacting and coming out of the narrative, all for the purpose of reminding the observer that they are watching a play, something that is meant to be analyzed. I thought this was an intriguing theory to apply to social media. The way that we interact with an audience through social media is bizarre as it is performative and sometimes even dehumanizing. It is within this thesis that I wanted to examine the para-social relationships that people experience with others when a layer of alienation is thrust between their true selves.
Prof. Miranda Giurleo, Thesis Advisor
Prof. Sarah Bedard, Committee Member
Prof. Emmett Buhmann, Committee Member
Lopes, Dakota. (2022). I Heard the Tree Scream and I Hated the Sound. In BSU Honors Program Theses and Projects. Item 547. Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/honors_proj/547
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