Who among us hasn’t wanted to erase something silly, stupid, or even scandalous that they did in the past? What about those things that have been written about you online that are harmful, but perhaps not even accurate or taken out of context? If only we could just scrub the shameful. But would that be fair?
In a special added performance to Arena Stage’s 2019-2020 season schedule comes a world premiere that — like so many others at Arena — is destined to go far. Right To Be Forgotten is a timely performance that sets America’s current dialogue about our conflicting freedom of information versus freedom of privacy on stage for all to contemplate.
Much is happening on this front internationally, with Europe proving to value privacy over freedom of speech with its Right to Erasure policies. We grapple more with this since our First Amendment is… well, our first amendment. And then there is the issue of forgiveness, which Right to Be Forgotten so masterfully interjects. The internet’s memory is forever, while the humans involved might change, exonerate or absolve. This is why it is so important that playwright Sharyn Rothstein obliges each member of the small cast to spark so many feelings — frustration, pity and compassion to start — over the course of the performance.
This is a play that not only speaks to, but understands modern audiences, running only 1 hr 35 minutes without an intermission, with simple, but effective, staging and a story that resonates with people at any age. Overall, Right to Be Forgotten is a hard look at big business and big tech v. individual rights and freedoms, but underneath there’s a cry for humanity in our broader national dialogue. It starts here.
Right to be Forgotten runs through November 10, 2019.