Social media on stage: Ballarat National Theatre announces play

THE dangers and value of the internet will be explored as part of Ballarat National Theatre’s first production for 2014.

Chatroom follows the story of a group of teenagers who communicate only via the internet, engaging in manipulative chatroom banter, with a couple of teens seeking to drive a nervously depressive 15-year-old to suicide.

Written by Enda Walsh almost 10 years ago, the play premiered to much acclaim at The National Theatre in London. 

Chatroom director Mary-Rose McLaren said the play was confrontational at times.

“It’s going to be different for different age groups. For the teenagers, I think it will provoke quite a lot of thinking about how to intervene in bad situations, how to support friends and how to use the internet,” Ms McLaren said.

“I think the older audience will get an interesting insight into how young people relate to each other.”

Ms McLaren said the play’s six cast members, all students at the Ballarat Centre of Music and the Arts, were initially hesitant about the content of the play.

“It’s a bit close to the bone and was something they really identified with,” she said.

“Because of the happy ending though, they ended up feeling quite comfortable with it. 

“The anonymity of cyber space makes it a dangerous space for these kids but there are solutions that also come out of cyber space.”

Chatroom will be staged as part of Social Tales – a series of four short plays. The first half of the performance will consist of three intriguing comedies before Chatroom itself is staged.

dellaram.vreeland@fairfaxmedia.com.au

AT A GLANCE

What: Social Tales

When: April 12 to 19

Where: Courthouse Theatre

Tickets: $20 adults

Bookings: 5333 5888

More information: bnt.org.au

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