Fringe review: 'E-geaux'
By Fiona Zublin
Thursday, Jul 21, 2011
When the calm voice at the beginning of a play or movie asks you to turn off your cellphone, do you? Or do you slip it into your pocket or your bag, thinking "it's on silent anyway" and check it periodically - just for the time! or in case that girl texted! - thinking no one can see the light from the screen? If it's the latter, there's a play you should see. The creators of "e-Geaux (beta)," which runs at the Goethe-Institut through Sunday, have come up with a play in which keeping your cellphone on is encouraged (unless you have AT&T, in which case you won't get service in the theater).
Before the show begins, you'll be asked to "opt in," an innocuous phrase that means "hand over your Facebook data for a couple of hours." That means the play's nimble writers can use your photos, your status updates and the rest of your profile info as comic fodder. Don't worry: You can't humiliate yourself any more than the audience member who voluntarily yelled "Yay, Farmville!" when the game's logo briefly appeared on the screen. The evening's format is that of a Stevenote - or in this case a Joenote, where the supposed inventor of e-Geaux and his aides try to show you why you need an app to run your virtual personality.
When editorials in newspapers clutch their metaphorical pearls about how social networking is ruining the Platonic form of friendship, e-Geaux (pronounced "ego," of course, which engenders a truly stunning number of puns) is what they're so afraid of. E-Geaux is an app for everything, which removes the human element from Facebook by putting irritating friends on autopilot, telling you whom you should bother to friend in the first place, and helping to spice up your photo albums with captions that give you a more interesting virtual life than you can manage to have in reality. There are still a few bugs, though: It gives you a customized "friend report" telling you which members of the audience should be your new Facebook contacts - but it warned me against friending the one person in the audience I knew. Sorry, Jack - technology will tear us apart.