“#Hashtag” begins with a pre-curtain announcement that the audience should not turn off their phones, encouraging us to “live tweet” the characters on stage. I activated Instagram to take a picture to post to Facebook and Twitter, but I didn’t get a response from the characters on stage.
“#Hashtag” tells the story of Kit, played by Spencer Howard, a present day 20-something Los Angelino suffering from the angst of self-centeredness. He places his dream of becoming an actor before his relationships. By the play’s end he has lost his girlfriend, turned his back on his brother and neglected the one friend who seems to really care about him, but he does land a role in a pilot. It’s a classic story of a hero’s tragic flaw bringing about his own demise, but “#Hashtag” is anything but a tragedy. With it’s over the top choreography and bursts into song, at best it could be described as a farce. To this viewer it resembled a sit-com, which appropriately reflects Kit’s rise to mediocrity.
Littered with allusions to present day life in Los Angeles, the play will delight 20-somethings following their dreams who don’t take themselves too seriously – a trait the play phones home is rare in tinsel town. The technology aspect of the play wherein characters are perpetually dialed into their Smart phones (at curtain call they actually hold up their hand to delay the audience from applauding in order to check their cells) cleverly coheres the theme of alienation.
Along with the very meta trope of having the audience participate in a social media orgy, references in the play add to the the reflective nature of the play. At one point Kit, on a blind internet date, tells the girl he had performed in the Hollywood Fringe Festival the previous year. Admittedly, the ensemble delivered solid performances, but unlike “The Katrina Comedy Fest,” I doubt “#Hashtag” would resonate with audiences other than Hollywood Fringe attendees.