Everyone involved with “Oops ... I Tweeted Again!” wants to talk about how innovative it is.
The comedy, opening at the Springer, incorporates audience interactivity through technology to a degree that the cast says is unheard of to their ears, while tackling the strange new post-Millennial world of social media and its mores.
"Oops" is written and acted by a small group of trained improv performers. Fittingly, production began with a group meeting over FaceTime, Apple's video chat service.
Unlike 2011’s “I Tweeted on my iPad (and I LIKED It),” “Oops” is a “sequel by name only,” said director Adam Archer. It aims to be as funny as it is innovative. Strip away the all the technology and you're still left with a comedy.
"We even mention it a little bit at the beginning: there is much more human interaction in this show than there was in the last one," Archer said. "Human interaction, I think, is our first and foremost obligation ... what you will get from this show is a 'unique experience,' but you'll also get theater at its very base level. This is theater, it just happens to be sprinkled with technology here and there. Some of our biggest moments are with the audience and us and nothing else."
Indeed, the show doesn’t even have much of a narrative throughline, instead allowing the writer-performers “more of an open floor plan” to tackle what interested them, said Casey Holloway. Topics-to-be-tackled include the role of gender and the specific nature of relationships online.
"Oops" highlights one of the Internet's principal behaviors: endless browsing; like the "Wiki spiral," where users jump from story to story in a never-ending hyperlinked web. It's the reason your Facebook News Feed doesn't ever stop loading.
Additions include shout-outs to Pinterest and Tumblr; and the real-life use of Google's wearable computer, Glass. (Glass isn't available for retail purchase; but you can reach out for one-off special occasions, such as performances, as the group has done here.) “Oops” is “completely different in the best way possible,” Holloway said.
One thing that hasn't changed is the role of the audience. As before, those on stage will interact with those in their seats; the audience will be able to affect what happens in the course of each show, so that no two nights are alike. It's an element that was built in from the start.
"You build it, you don't weave it," said Jef Holbrook. "It's like if you're doing a musical: it's not like, 'When do you add in the songs?'"
"Oops" will be staged in the Springer’s McClure Theatre, which opened last fall. The set has been specifically designed for the space, and includes large screens to display incoming audience messages.
“What I’ve seen is something that is worlds more dynamic than even the first one,” said Springer Artistic Director Paul Pierce.
Dynamic — and funny, too: “I’d say the bad thing about this play is that you may laugh too much,” Archer said.
And unlike other plays, said Marketing Director Scooter MacMillan, “if you don’t like it you can just play on Facebook.”
IF YOU GO
Tickets start at $17. Material is rated PG16. 7:30 p.m. each night with a 2:30 p.m. performance on Sunday. Also April 17-19.