The Star Late Edition - - TONIGHT | THEATRE -

LBERT Ein­stein fa­mously said, “I fear the day that tech­nol­ogy will sur­pass our hu­man in­ter­ac­tion. The world will have a gen­er­a­tion of idiots.” That day may have ar­rived.

With our iden­ti­ties to­day in­creas­ingly be­ing shaped by our on­line pres­ence, so­cial me­dia users con­struct on­line al­ter per­sonas for them­selves that only live in cy­ber space.

These per­sonas in­vari­ably are only reflections of the best parts of our lives and are not ac­cu­rate rep­re­sen­ta­tions of our­selves as a whole. They present to the on­line world only a small part of our ac­tual lives. We por­tray our­selves as some­one we’re not.

The down­side to this dual per­son­al­ity is that in­di­vid­u­als of­ten ex­pe­ri­ence symp­toms of anx­i­ety, de­pres­sion and ob­ses­sive-com­pul­sive dis­or­der, as trig­gered by their need for their cy­ber per­sonas to be liked. The more likes we get, the bet­ter we feel about our­selves.

This need for ap­proval af­fects our sense of self-worth. We are per­sis­tently con­cerned about our on­line per­sonas, as pre­sented in our posts and com­mu­ni­ca­tion with oth­ers.

We are en­cour­aged to form and cher­ish ar­ti­fi­cial bonds over ac­tual friend­ships, which har­bour a false sense of con­nec­tion.

Sadly the on­line per­sonas get to dic­tate how to feel about our­selves and the world, nar­row­ing down our hu­man po­ten­tials, lim­it­ing us to be­ing no more than card­board cut-outs.

Ein­stein calls this mod­ern crea­ture an id­iot. Chore­og­ra­pher Owen Lon­zar and the­atre di­rec­tor Syl­vaine Strike call it DOLL. DOLL is this cre­ative duo’s much an­tic­i­pated of­fer­ing at Dance Um­brella this year. “DOLL is a per­spec­tive on the era of the selfie,” Lon­zar said, “the age of so­cial me­dia and on­line dat­ing and the dis­con­nect­ed­ness it has brought about. Are women pre­sent­ing them­selves as dolls for ob­jec­ti­fi­ca­tion be­cause men see them that way, or do men see women as dolls be­cause of how women dis­play them­selves?” he asked.

Lon­zar said that so­ci­ety is all about swip­ing left or right, the num­ber of likes a photo re­ceives, how many fol­low­ers you have. Where is the hu­man­ity in it all? DOLL ex­plores the in­abil­ity to have suc­cess­ful re­la­tion­ships, the freak­show el­e­ment of so­cial me­dia and the col­lec­tion of one-night stands.

What make this col­lab­o­ra­tion ex­cit­ing are the artists’ re­spec­tive fields of ex­per­tise. Lon­zar, best known for his chore­og­ra­phy in the com­mer­cial dance in­dus­try, re­cently re­turned from Aus­tralia, where he was the cre­ative and stage di­rec­tor of the LGBTQIA Awards. Strike re­marked that Lon­zar’s tal­ent for chore­og­ra­phy was by no means lim­ited to pure en­ter­tain­ment, hav­ing wit­nessed some of his pro­foundly artis­tic works.

Strike, a pro­lific the­atre di­rec­tor with a keen in­ter­est in the art of move­ment, re­cently re­turned from Wo­ord­fees in Stel­len­bosch, where she pre­miered her highly ac­claimed pro­duc­tion of Sam Shep­ard’s Curse of the Starving Class.

“We use dance, phys­i­cal the­atre and clown­ing to en­ter­tain and tell the story”, Lon­zar said.

“En­ter­tain­ment value is most im­por­tant to both Syl­vaine and I and hu­mour is some­thing we feel is of great value.”

The cast com­prises Dono­van Yaards (an an­drog­y­nous char­ac­ter), ac­tors Craig Mor­ris and Ryan Dittmann, dancer Thapelo Kot­lolo and eight fe­male dancers.

This highly imag­i­na­tive and en­ter­tain­ing pro­duc­tion prom­ises to be a Dance Um­brella high­light and should not be missed.

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