Recently I was in a meeting where someone was talking about “Millennials” and said the following: “With teenagers today, if they don’t share it on Facebook, it didn’t happen.” I thought to myself, if they really believe this and inadvertently forget to bring a camera to their child’s birthday party, they could be paying for that party twice. I also prayed this person was not responsible for any major decisions regarding deforestation.
Fast forward to the weekend for a different take on teenagers in the play Notice Me, an account of four teenagers living in California and dealing with steroids, virginity, kidnapping and trying out for the “Real World,” all within 48 hours. The play — written by Blair Singer and produced by a completely twentysomething cast — meant to tell a story about how young people seek out affirmation and will do so at any cost, whether it means increasing their physical presence, losing their “V” card on the hood of a car, stealing a baby or being recorded on TiVos across America.
But what Notice Me meant to “say” about youth culture was less interesting than what it actually accomplished — a portrait of how dissimilar four teenagers can be, and not from adults, but from each other. In this story, each character had different ambitions, identities and ideas about what it meant to be noticed — none of which included Facebook uploads! An interesting point to think about as we craft generalizations that paint every teenager as a texting maniac who only looks up in order to be “noticed” by the person on the other side of their ChatRoulette conversation.
Go see it! For more culture picks check out this week’s Culturalist.
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