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News & Views
Living Like It's 1925
Wednesday, May. 4, 2011
One week without modern technology?! That was the order from Santa Clara University's Theatre and Dance Assistant Professor Kimberly Hill, who's the director of Hay Fever, a play set in 1925, for which I'm rehearsing. I can't use the microwave, the internet (except to do school work), or workout with my iPod. And forget about texting my friends or Facebooking. Prof. Hill said it would help us feel what our characters are feeling, but I have to admit. I actually got a headache just thinking about it!
As the week began I wasn't sure how it would work out or whether I would slip up. By the end of the week, however, I learned a lot about not only my character, but myself and the society in which we live.
Luckily, the first day of the "1925 Experiment" was a beautiful day in Santa Clara, which only made it easier to spend time outside and away from technology. Riding my bike to the local rose garden and just laying out in the sun were both excellent substitutions for Facebook and watching television. Throughout the week the cast met up to make dinner, go on walks, play cards, and engage in other technology-free activities, though the hardest part was successfully meeting up without texting or emailing one another.
Usually, when I forget my cell phone at home or it dies and I'm unreachable, I get rather anxious. But since the assignment gave me an excuse not to have my phone, I felt relaxed and almost free. Ultimately, I noticed that in modern society, it's almost unacceptable to not be in constant communication. Normally, I check my phone quite a few times, even throughout classes, to make sure someone is not trying to get in touch with me. After surviving the entire week without taking my phone out of the house, I realized that not being in touch with everyone all the time is not the end of the world!
Throughout the whole week I only slipped up once, accidentally microwaving soup before I was even conscious of the action. Furthermore, cooking was noticeably different without using the microwave, though I appreciated that it often made food taste better. For example, making a veggie burger in the oven was so much better than making one in the microwave. I learned that, even in this technology-filled time, the faster way isn't always the better way!
As the week came to an end, everything truly came full circle and we were able to connect the week's experiences with why our characters are the way they are. Much of the play is about a family's boredom and how they act out in response to that boredom. The technology-free "1925 Experiment" did leave almost all of us rather bored at times, and because of that time I now better understand the motivation behind our characters' actions.
All things considered, I think the week went well and gave me a newfound sense of freedom from many things of the modern world.
Anna Vossler is from North Hollywood and a senior studying communication at Santa Clara University. The play runs May 27-29 and June 2-4.