Sandra Hosking began work on her play “Creeps” in 2008, just a couple of years after Facebook became available for anyone with an email address and the first generation iPhone was unveiled to the public. Seven years and a handful of staged readings later, the show is finally getting a full production at Stage Left Theater beginning tonight.
Hosking, Stage Left’s playwright-in- residence, hasn’t changed much of the play since ’08, but having it presented with actors on sets has given her the opportunity to tweak and add elements that she hadn’t before considered.
“The great thing about theater is that it is fluid; it’s live; it’s different every night,” she said. “Working on a play, you have the freedom to change things, to see how it works.”
There are two women at the center of “Creeps,” both of whom experience intimacy differently. One is Sarah, an awkward video game designer who is content to exist within the virtual universes she creates. The other is Sarah’s roommate, Eve, who is more socially and romantically adventurous. Sarah wishes she shared Eve’s personal daring, but she continues retreating into her cyberworlds, interacting with other people through an avatar that doesn’t resemble her.
“I was thinking about the modern nature of relationships, and how people are finding love online and meeting people different ways,” Hosking said. “So I brought that into it, but also about power in relationships – that could be friendships or romantic relationships – and biology, and how that may or may not play a part.”
Director Juan Mas has used lighting effects and video projectors to transition the real world action into cyberspace, which Hosking says brings a new dimension to the story.
“I wrote the play to have that all be suggested, but Juan has assembled this great group of collaborative people to bring that to life even more,” she said. “It’s so nice to finally have a home for this play, and to give it to a director who actually has a vision for it.”
The biggest takeaway from “Creeps” is about modern technology and how it often dictates our emotions. In an age where everything is available online and where so many of our interactions occur through texting and instant messaging, human relationships aren’t what they used to be.
“It seems like people are disconnected, even though we’re connected through technology,” said Hosking, who also reviews theater as a freelance writer for The Spokesman-Review. “They’re not as close as they were. … In this play, these characters are kind of self-absorbed and disconnected from one another. Maybe they find a connection by the end, maybe they don’t. Either way, maybe the audience will see that there’s a price to losing intimacy, and what are they going to do about that?
“And that’s even a question I was exploring for myself while I was writing this play, so I’m still wondering about that, too.”