Handle It; can be a searing admonition or a gentle pleading exemplifying the perception of its not what you say but how you say it. It has been used as the title of the one woman play written and acted by Laura Jackson where she cleverly confronts the dilemmas of social media and the propensity of those born to the technology to embrace it unquestioningly. She has developed a play of its time, for and about those swept up in the worst aspects of social media.
When compromising pictures of a young university student are posted on Facebook a train crash of disasters ensue. Jackson creates seven characters to give different perspectives of how this happened, those involved, the repercussions, the harrowing aftermath and the moving on interspersed with a screening of various social media posts that are chilling at times and most reprehensible to say the least.
But this is in the language of today’s youth where we who are too old to be bothered learning the finer points of their truncated language and tweet along at our own pace, or eschew the technology entirely, realise that the problems of today’s young women are not dissimilar to those the early feminists faced, but today’s technology creates new pressures, new threats and the kind of publicity you can’t erase.
Jackson is a class act, happy to identify as a feminist in a world where for some reason it is now seen to be the wrong word despite many of the benefits the deniers now enjoy and her research and writing has created a conversation piece of impact and importance for all men and women. Her performance in the seven roles is exceptional and the tight direction by Janys Hayes keeps us all on the edge of this disaster wishing we could press the delete button to make it all go away.
Ultimately it is a play with sage advice and when seen in this format it makes sense to take it to the girls; in schools, universities, colleges and sporting clubs, because the wisdom of their parents is lost in the white noise of tecnology and what would they know anyhow. Its not so easy to handle it, whatever way you look at it.
‘Handle It’ is at The Street until 15 March.