House Party Theatre's #basic Pokes Fun and Explores a Generation's Fear
Afomia Hailemeskel in #basic.
The horror. The horror of following more people on Instagram than you have followers is something unique to Millennials. The disappointment. The disappointment of feeling like a failure because you’re 30 and not famous yet. These ideas and themes are explored in the House Party Theatre play #basic.
The play features three young women characters who only go by Bae, AF, and SHIP — terms and acronyms only known by those with a heavy social media presence. In the form of semi-long monologues, written by Brigham Mosley, the three actresses (Kristen Kelso, Claire Carson and Afomia Hailemeskel) poke fun at culture today, as well as their own generation. What qualifies as #basic? Matted lipstick? Taylor Swift? Having a blog? Not having a blog?
It’s a casual setup, with zero costume changes and three actresses moving about in a warehouse by way of dancing, sitting or standing. And the audience stands, too, while sipping on some pretty #basic beer or Champagne. Before the play begins, the past year’s top radio hits play in the background while the actresses encourage everyone to Instagram and tweet pictures of the show.
Kelso and Hailemeskel mainly play the two self-involved, #basic, #notbasic young women who will stop at nothing to not be mainstream. Why title a blog “Live, Laugh, Love,” when it could be “Live, Laugh, Prosecco?” But Carson’s character is a woman confused by all the #basic, hashtag, pinning nonsense, who wonders why a blog with only pictures isn’t just an Instagram account. While her two friends are talking in circles trying to sound deep and #inspirational with lines like, "You've got to look at the swing-y part of the clock and, like, when the metal circle reaches all the way to the left, you've got to immediately root for the right," Carson is quick to point out the bullshit. However, in one of her monologues, she painfully explains her disappointment at being 30 and not feeling like she has a purpose, feeling too old to really do anything with her life. All of the most successful women, in her eyes, like actress Jennifer Lawrence and musician Taylor Swift, got their start at a young 14 years old. What was she doing? Why didn’t her parents move their entire lives for their somewhat talented daughter?
What could have easily been a play ripping apart a generation of young people — which at times it is — it also straddles a line and explores the fear in every young person’s mind of not having a lasting legacy.
You can see #basic at 8 p.m. Monday, October 5, or October, 16, 17, 18 or 19 at 2203 Oberchain St.
Get the Arts & Culture Newsletter
Find out about arts and culture events in Dallas and offers you won't hear about anywhere else.