Tuesday, May 27, 2014

FROM DIVERGENT TO DECOY: Are We Ready For A Futuristic Freaky Friday Society?

     “Now I trust you’ve had the opportunity to look at our vessels out on display…?”
                                                                                       DECOY by Keith Walker

Sifting through the plays of the Strawberry One Act Festival, Kristopher Karcher, the Riant Theatre’s literary intern and dramaturg, will be publishing a new article every week to talk about the topical issues that are brought up in many of the One-Act plays in our festival.

The question with a lot of new science nowadays is not, "Can we do it?", but, "Should we?" New medical treatments have people growing whole organs with stem cells. Scientists are creating designer babies by rearranging genetic information just so the child will have blue eyes. Hologram technology is so insane that dead artists are now headlining at world-famous award shows. Yes, with today’s technology we certainly CAN, but where do we draw the line? We’ve seen this question brought up in films and books a lot recently. Look at the new popular television show Orphan Black, where scientists are growing tails and changing their entire genetic makeup. Is there a point where we as human beings should stop fumbling with nature and just let it be? And Jody Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper, where parents create a baby just for stem cells to cure their other daughter. Where is the line where we say, “No, this is not okay. We should not be playing God”?

But what if one of these controversial treatments could save your life, or even make you immortal? You’d be able to live to see your children grow, graduate, get married, and have kids of their own (and hopefully in that order). You’d do whatever is possible right? What if the treatment meant losing your body and transporting your thoughts, ambitions, and emotions into another person, a vessel for your soul? Would you still do it? Remember your life is on the line.   DECOY by Keith Walker,
deals with all of these issues when a newly married couple confronts a crisis with a possible new medical breakthrough. The Groom is sick and he isn’t getting better. He’s given two options, go through another round of treatment that may not work, or try a new treatment, a treatment that takes everything you are and puts you into a new healthy body. The play explores the couple’s love for each other and a man dealing with his own morality.

            Science fiction is huge right now, especially with the young adult audience. Book series like The Hunger Games and Divergent are experiencing a surplus of success as the overused trends of vampires, werewolves, and magic all die out. What is it that this new wave of genre has to offer us? Is it the promise of new technology? The need for change? Possibly. But what really grabs the attention of the readers and audience members of this new sci-fi craze is the fact that these characters are dealing with futuristic technology in a utopian setting, but are still dealing with the same human problems and issues we have today. These books, films, and plays allow us to face impossible situations and ask us, as audience members, what would we do? Perhaps this genre, more than any, helps us discover who we are, and what our moral limits may be.
            At the end of each article, I plan on leaving the audience with a question. Tweet us with your answer (@rianttheatre), or leave a comment below, and you will be entered into a drawing to win two free tickets to the night of your choice of the Riant Theatre’s Strawberry One-Act Festival!

This week’s question: What would you do if you were in the same situation as the married couple in DECOY? Would you give up your body and live in someone else’s?

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