About a year ago, I was having dinner with a friend of mine and the conversation turned towards the pros and cons of technology and to what extent technology negatively affects climate change. The conventional notion of climate change is very confusing, politicized, frustrating.
For someone who works in the development field, watching the planet being robbed of its most precious resources like forests, clean air, water–and people–in an era where technology can and should afford us the highest standards of living without endangering the well-being of the earth, is sad and maddening. Technology is neither intrinsically good nor bad. It is about what we do with it. So if this is the case, then it is clear to me that the problem is that technology is almost always ahead of strategy, tactics and the law. Technology over people. A terrifying thought. But it is not really about technology, is it?
Anyway, going back to that dinner, I left feeling slightly antsy. I kept thinking about what I see all the time at the supermarket: dozens of students waiting in line texting, chatting on the phone, tweeting. And I am one of them. How do I feel? Liberated or trapped? And more, why is it that with all this mind-blowing technological wizardry the human race still cannot overcome and satisfy its most basic needs?
Trapped, that’s how I feel. Trapped in a beautiful cage. The human race is still trapped. And sooner or later, in a way or another, a caged person breaks free…. Too Close attempts to address this feeling.
Two strangers get into an elevator. When the elevator stops, nobody comes to their rescue. They are trapped. As the hours turn to days, they realize that the only way out may be within. And so, the journey begins. Description of Too Close, debuting at Capital Fringe.
If we really have a handle on technology, the onus shifts and it is really about people. People over technology, yes, not the other way around, and people must be responsible and held accountable for how it is used. So maybe I shouldn’t have asked whether technology is good or bad, but what can we do with it.
How can we use it to safeguard the planet? To educate, to neutralize economic crises, to prevent wars, to save trees? I wrote the play in two weeks. I thought of how I really feel with a phone in my hands, all the time. Both characters are a part of me. Dylan and Anthony might be trapped. Yes. But they still have choices.
Luigi Laraia (Playwright) has worked as a World Bank Board Member since 2010. He graduated with his MA in Sociology and earned his BA in Development at the London School of Economics. He is a dedicated development practitioner and passionate writer. He has written several plays, among them, Esma, on the disappeared during the dirty war in Argentina; Heard, a discussion of the complex interests of development stakeholders; and Neda Wants to Die, a play about sexual violence.
July 10 — July 24, 2016
MLK Jr Memorial Library
901 G Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
Show details and tickets