Connected, by Lia Romeo, is a fascinating look at the cyber world we live in today and how it directly affects our younger generation. They're growing up in a world where anything that can be captured on video can go viral, for better or worse. Romeo's work plays out in four vignettes, all of which touch on themes of loneliness and deception. Alternately amusing and heart-breaking, Connected features a young and talented cast playing multiple roles.
In one bit, Meghan (played by Caitlin Mickey) does a striptease for the object of her desire, in an attempt to get him to be her date for the prom. The act is captured on video much to Meghan's chagrin, and she even appears on TV (hosted by Helene Estes). In the meantime, she's consoled by her single mom (played by Cooper Shaw), and pursued by sophomore Jeremy (Jake Bucher). Jack Dryden plays her gay brother, Scott.
In another bit, Jack takes the lead as Sam, a young man whose family has moved from Michigan to St. Louis after his brother dies. He's into social media as well, and encounters two silly girls, Shireen (Estes) and Sarah (Mickey) at a party.
Another tale finds Mark (Pete Winfrey) engaging Sharon (Mickey) through her avatar in a fantasy game. Though he's able to get her to meet him at a bar, their encounter is anything but smooth sailing.
A final story finds Mrs. Haverill (a teacher played by Cooper Shaw) enticed online by a couple of students who masquerade as older adults, until their ruse is uncovered.
Director Chuck Harper does fine work here guiding these young actors through their various roles, all of which examine the various pitfalls that can occur with online relationships. He's aided by the cool scenic design of Mark Wilson, and the smart lighting scheme of Michael Sullivan. Scott Breihan outfits the cast in clothes that are good character fits, and Meg Brinkley provides the various props utilized. Zoe Sullivan contributes the contemporary tunes that kick off each section.
This is an engaging work that addresses the modern world we live in, as well as the various pitfalls that can occur when the internet is used to hook up individuals, since it can allow for easy deception.
HotCity Theatre's production of Connected continues through February 23, 2013.