Learn How to 'Cry in Public' at this Boise Contemporary Theater Staged Reading 

Ben Chappell is fascinated by social media.

"[It's] beautiful because of the role it has in our lives, but also because it is what it is," he said.

Platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have immense democratizing power, and let people from across cultures interact in ways that would have been unimaginable just a few decades ago, but Chappell, a 17-year-old senior at Boise High School, also sees how those platforms can corrode how people feel about themselves and how they communicate with others.

His concerns will hit the Boise Contemporary Theater annex on Sunday, Dec. 9, at a staged reading of his play, A Guide to Crying in Public. The play, based on a chapbook of the same name that Chappell self-published earlier this year, will show young people describing their lives while blow-ups of their smartphone screens play their social media activity behind them.

As their batteries run low, their lives become more fraught, and the characters struggle to communicate their mounting distress. They'll have to find their authentic, real-world voices before they run out of juice.

"I'm using language as a technology to bring people together," Chappell said.

Catch the reading at BCT on Sunday at 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 and available online.
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