DON'T TAKE THIS THE WRONG WAY
Photos by Anja Hose
By Anja Hose
Director: Kevin Woodrow
Scenic Design: TBD
Lighting Design: TBD
Costume Design: TBD
Sound Design: TBD
Don't Take This the Wrong Way (working title), is my in-progress thesis projected, slated to be produced in 2018-2019 during my 3rd year of graduate school at the University of Illinois. The script was finished in Spring semester of 2018 and rehearsals began during late March after a director change. Spring 2018 culminated with a staged reading for select peers and faculty.
I was already interested in gender roles and how straight men and women date each other, but when the Babe article about the woman who went on a date with Aziz Ansari came out, all my friends sent it to me and said, "This is like your thesis." The show's content centers around societal expectations, loneliness, manipulation, and miscommunication. This was originally intended to be a one-woman show in which all other characters only exist as text messages, Facetime calls, or profiles on a dating app. However, it became clear as I was writing that the climax scene needed to take place on stage so that there was no question of unreliable narrators. This scene will be one of dubious consent in which the man is unaware he's pressuring his partner, and the woman thinks her reluctance is abundantly clear. This isn't a rape story, or perhaps it is; it's a story about a date that happens all the time and which everyone is so inured to that they don't realize that this might be nonconsensual. My goal is to get audiences to re-examine their own sexual history and perhaps be more openly communicative with their partners in the future.
In Fall 2017, I wrote and staged a 15-minute scene as exploration for Don't Take this the Wrong Way. I titled it "Modern Romance" and handed out a study guide (PDF above) as supplementary material when it was performed. This scene explored some of the extreme interactions and types of men that a straight woman might encounter while online dating. All of the text conversations were written by me but based heavily on research of actual conversation screenshots that people have posted online.
I created the Tinder animation with a layered Photoshop document that separated the profile photos and masked them, using the Tinder app as a frame so that when I brought them into After Effects I could animate the swiping, keyframing "Nope" and "Like" to fade in according to the photo's distance from center - just like the Tinder app. I wrote the conversations in another long Photoshop document, which I animated in After Effects just by changing the position to scroll upward. Given more time, I would have liked to have animated the woman's typed text appearing in the text box as well.