Is Technology Killing or Creating Relationships?

Outside the Theatre   Is Technology Killing or Creating Relationships? Three actors make their case in Jenny Rachel Weiner’s new Off-Broadway play, Kingdom Come, at Roundabout Theatre Company.
Crystal Finn, Carmen M. Herlihy, and Alex Hernandez
Crystal Finn, Carmen M. Herlihy, and Alex Hernandez Monica Simoes
Crystal Finn, Carmen M. Herlihy, and Alex Hernandez
Crystal Finn, Carmen M. Herlihy, and Alex Hernandez Monica Simoes

Who: Crystal Finn, Carmen M. Herlihy, and Alex Hernandez
Outside: The Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre on 46th Street

The characters in Kingdom Come—the show you’re all currently performing in—meet online. A lot of people meet that way these days; how does this play explore the way technology has impacted relationships?
AH: The way we love is different because of technology, and that’s something that’s explored in this play. Is that love [of two people who meet online] as valid as that of two people who meet in a coffee shop? As a person of my generation, I would say “yes, absolutely.” Love is about finding a person and if you have to go fishing online, that’s where you fish now.

Carmen and Crystal, do you ever go online to meet people?
CH: No way. I’m old-fashioned. I meet boys through friends or at a bar. I don’t do online at all. What the play is about is how much we are relying on social media to sustain relationships, and how it might trick us into thinking we actually have relationships with those people.
AH: I actually had a number of friendships growing up with people that I’d never met in real life—like a friend’s cousin who I never ended up hanging out with but we were friends on AIM for two years.
CH and CF: I don’t even know what AIM is.
AH: AOL Instant Messenger. I disagree that you can’t have a real relationship via text or technology.
CH: The thing is, through technology, you can edit yourself and present the best version of yourself.
AH: So on a first date you show up in your sweatpants?
CH: Yes, okay there are certain ways that you can clean yourself up, but I never trust first impressions online, because when you meet someone you see a more unedited version. There’s no delete button.

Do you know anyone that’s ever been catfished?
AH: In slight ways—someone shows up [to a blind date] and the person is 30 pounds heavier, or five years older than how they looked in their photo.

Performances of Kingdom Come began October 7, how have audiences reacted so far?
CF: We had questions early on about what the generational divide would be, and I think it’s a little more complicated than we initially thought. I had wondered whether older generations would connect with the play but… I think they’re much more aware of this world [and technology] than I thought.

How did you each get involved with Kingdom Come?
CH: My agent sent me the play, and it was one of the few plays I’ve read in a really long time that I was very interested in seeing. That’s usually an indication that I like it.

Alex and Crystal, how did you feel about the script after you’d first read it?
AH: It’s very rare that you read a script that grabs you in such a way that you feel energized just being in the room. [Despite] being an actor, I’m not an overly emotional person, but this is one of two scripts I’ve ever read where I [found myself] crying. I wasn’t sobbing or anything but I was tearing up!
CF: I thought it was funny, moving, and confidant. I think that [playwright] Jenny Rachel Weiner, especially being so young, knows how she’s steering the ship. I felt like I was in good hands.

For more information on the Roundabout Theatre Company production of Jenny Rachel Weiner’s Kingdom Come, which officially opens November 2 with direction by Kip Fagan, and to purchase tickets, visit Roundabouttheatre.org/

Today’s Most Popular News: