#HASHTAG has Heart

By Raquel Sanchez
Staff Writer

HWF

The moment the voice-over invited me to do the unthinkable in theatre – to feel free to leave my phone on, live tweet, take pictures and social app my heart away, I was hooked. What a sense of freedom (which in all honesty, I didn’t take full advantage of, but only because the show immediately reeled me in with a musical number)!

Produced by The Mechanical Heart,  #HASHTAG is a story about a young man fresh out of college trying to find his way through his career and love-life, while living another life online.  A funny, entertaining, and smart social commentary on our current state of communication, #HASHTAG poses the question: While we are busy trying to connect through social media without genuinely connecting, are we missing out on making actual connections with tangible beings in our life?

#HASHTAG was created and written in collaboration through a series of improvisations, by the Mechanical Heart Theatre Company members for the Hollywood Fringe. Director Jeff Wienckowski helps weave these improvisations into a story that reflects society’s current state of communication, or lack of, and how we use it to distract ourselves from the complications of human relations.

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Spencer Howard as “Kit” was funny and neurotic, managing to make me love him, then hate him because of his disregard for his girlfriend Nicole, played with excellent comedic timing by Katie Willert. All the characters that came in and out of Kit’s life were representative of people who live on social media and those who are completely clueless of what it is. Kit’s brother Mikey was a dead on representation of many millennials who have confidence in cyberspace, but find themselves trying to figure out where they fit in real life.  I enjoyed all the performances and found myself smiling throughout the hour-long show.

As I write this review, I sit in my yoga class checking my Facebook, twitter, instagram and tumblr. I am reblogging gifs, reading statuses, considering whether or not to post what I think is a cool picture of myself doing yoga, and evaluating if I have 140 characters worth of observations to post on twitter. Social media is a way to reach out to the masses that you really don’t want invading your personal space. However, the tricky thing is that as you feel you have control of the information you disseminate about yourself, you are really revealing more than you think. Just look at the anxiety behind your tags, mine currently read: #ihopethismakessense and #pleaselikemyreview.

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#HASHTAG
Written by The Mechanical Heart Theatre Company
Directed by Jeffrey Wienckowski

Elephant Space, Theatre Asylum
6320 Santa Monica Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90038

Additional Information available at the Fringe Festival Website.

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