Actor, writer, and producer, David Schwimmer, co-founder of The Lookingglass Theatre, came to 1871 on March 9th. With him was Alex Zeldin, the writer/director of the new Lookingglass play, Beyond Caring. This play is a re-imagined piece about temporary workers’ lives. They started off the chat with intros, but their main intent was to get to know the audience and their expressions towards the theater.

Zeldin and Schwimmer asked a series of questions, including “How many people here go to the theater?”, “Why don’t people go: because of cost, convenience, or relatability?” In a room full of fast-paced techie people, the answers were surprising. The discussion on theater vs. cinema was touched on. Some agreed that theater is more personal, which makes the audience “feel” more from the actors and as a result have a better experience overall. Others argued that they would choose the cinema over a live theater performance because there are no expectations from the audience. You sit in a dark private room and all the emotions are coming from people through a screen. “It’s a lot less draining.”, someone commented.

An interesting segway led to an in-depth on talk on the difference between live experiences and “live streaming”. Both are in the present moment. The only difference is that one is being “lived” and the other is being watched. These days, it’s harder and harder to keep our lives personal and private. We claim that technology brings us all closer together because we are more connected as a society.

Zeldin and Schwimmer wanted to challenge this thought. They claim that technology really does the opposite. People are constantly living their lives through their phones; whether it’s watching live streams, posting statuses, pictures, videos, etc. So in reality, we are living the lives of our social media profiles, not our own free-spirited individuals. We are putting on a show for our followers. This took a second to soak in. They agree that technology is necessary in today’s life; but there is a fine line between what is helping and what is hurting our world, relationships, and social excursions.

I got a lot out of this fireside chat with David Schwimmer and Alex Zeldin. They are proven thinkers with lots of expressions about the changing dynamics. Let’s keep this conversation going.


Credit: Greg Rothstein