Drama. By Ramon Esquivel
Cast: 2m., 6w. or 1m., 3w. Nasty combines realism and fantasy to explore friendships, identity and bullying in the context of social networking sites, chat rooms, blogs, tweets, videos, and role-playing games on the Internet. Offline, they are Lencha, Zoe, Martha, and Manuel, teenagers who stress about school, obsess over crushes, and make one another laugh. Online, they are QYN-CHACHA, ZUUZUU, EARTHA-X, and MYNYSTR_of_SOUND, avatars that slay werewolves, create art, and gossip about one another. One kiss ignites a chain reaction that blurs the lines between these offline and online worlds. Lencha, adept at navigating the labyrinths and dungeons of Elder World as QYN-CHACHA, wages a flame war when she feels threatened. Zoe, who dominates the social networks as ZUUZUU, proves that a girl with more than 2,000 friends can be one formidable enemy. Martha gleefully tweets and blogs the conflict as EARTHA-X, champion of social justice and bullhorn of gossip. Manuel, shy in person but flamboyant as MYNYSTR_of_SOUND, complicates matters by trying to help. When the conflict threatens to spiral out of control, one person tries a brave but risky strategy to save their friendships: honesty. The story of Nasty raises three questions: How do our online identities reflect our best and worst selves? How do friends work through conflict? What are the pros and cons of developing relationships through online communication? The highly theatrical world of the avatars can be brought to life through multimedia projections and animations or through clever use of masks, puppetry, movement and/or lighting effects. Nasty was developed at the 2009 New Plays for Young Audiences residency at New York University, Program in Educational Theatre. Area staging. Approximate running time: 75 minutes.