2015 Capital Fringe Preview #50: In ‘Neighborhood 3,’ the kids – and the parents – are not alright…. by David Dieudonne

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Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom, by Jennifer Haley is a cautionary tale about a medium surrounded by many questions that are past time to start asking.

Awash in physical and emotional carnage, Neighborhood 3 reflects on the difficulties of parenting in a digital age: How much privacy should we allow our children to have without abdicating parental responsibility? Family dysfunction, American consumerism and an adolescent’s need to claim power in a world where everyone tells them what to do are just some of the themes explored in this sharp, biting commentary on the Facebook generation.

 Yoni Gray and Jen Bevan. Photo by Daniel Corey.

Yoni Gray and Jen Bevan. Photo by Daniel Corey.

The adolescent cult behavior that arises from the festering rot of parental neglect and indulgence signals the beginning of the end of the idyllic, suburban fort that the parents have been holding down. No one in this world is revealing who he or she really is – the parents’ idea of “moving up” only conceals their own empty lives, and for the children, it’s in the game that they have found their true selves. The paranoia and tension in Neighborhood 3 arises from the very banality of what passes for everyday interaction – the conversations that people should be having with each other just aren’t happening, and instead of the children seeking the parents’ approval, it’s the other way around.

David Dieudonne.

David Dieudonne.

ven when the parents suspect the worst, their ineffectiveness at facing the circumstances head on is just further proof that this aura of “truth” and “normality” that they have struggled to establish is really just as horrifying as the events that are borne from their indifference. It’s not what they fear their children are becoming –  the fear of understanding why is what terrifies them.

For the teens’ part, trying to escape this combination of excessive permissiveness and expectation of conformity is as confusing for them as the game is for their parents. They deal with it the only way they know how, retreating to their virtual reality to take out their frustrations on the mundane trivialities of suburban life. It’s not that the teens in this piece aren’t smart or quick-thinking; it’s just that they use those talents to kill, having been drawn so deep into their imaginary world that they have serious difficulties in distinguishing the game from reality. Neighborhood 3 helps raise questions on an infrequently brought-up topic: What price do gamers pay for playing in these hyper-violent simulations?

Jen Bevan and Alex Zavistovich. Photo by Daniel Corey.

Jen Bevan and Alex Zavistovich. Photo by Daniel Corey.

If there’s any lesson that comes out of Neighborhood 3, it’s the importance of connecting more with those around you. In an era where smartphones are glued to our hands, where coffee shops are populated more with laptop-gazers than people having actual conversations, we’re more at risk at paying the price of not hearing or noticing each other. There’s no returning to everyday life for these teens and their doomed parents and Neighborhood 3 shows us where virtual reality can lead us when we allow it to fill a very real hole in our lives, and home may never feel the same.

Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom features Jen Bevan, Brian Kraemer, Yoni Gray, Annette Mooney Wasno, and Alex Zavistovich.

This production is presented as a part of the 2015 Capital Fringe Festival, a program of the Washington, DC non-profit Capital Fringe.

Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.

David Dieudonne is Director of Molotov Theatre Group’s Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom.

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LINKS

Neigborhood 3: Requisition of Doom plays through August 2, 2015 at Molotov Theatre Group, performing at DC Arts Center – 2438 18th Street NW, in Washington, D.C. Tickets can be purchased at the door or or on their Capital Fringe Page.

LINKS:
2015 Capital Fringe Preview #32: Video Preview of ‘Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom’ by Jennifer Haley.

2015 Capital Fringe Festival Preview #39: ‘Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom’: Part 1: The Curious Incident of the Zombies in the Neighborhoodby Alex Zavistovich.

2015 Capital Fringe Review‘Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom’ on DCMetroTheaterArts.

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