Courtesy of Dragons

After a three-week whirlwind rehearsal process, college students, musicians and a porn star will be brought on stage together to question the repercussions of digital celebrity.

“Xander Xyst, Dragon: 1,” written by Jeremy Harris DRA ’19, directed by Jesse Rasmussen DRA ’17 and produced by Adam Frank SOM ’18 DRA ’18, will premiere at the Yale Cabaret beginning March 2. The play follows a young college student named Matt as he deals with challenges involving a girl in his newly formed band and his older brother, a famous porn star. The girl, Lena, is a young musician who is obsessed with technology and loves collecting stories. Each character in the play is influenced by technology, using it such that the technology takes on a persona of its own within the production.

“With technology, people feel like their actions have very little consequence, but in the play, the audience can see the effects of those actions catch up with the characters in real time,” said Sydney Lemmon DRA ’17, who plays Lena.

Members of the cast and crew interviewed said they used layered projector screens in the back of the stage to display designs and silhouettes in order to illustrate the internet as a live character and constant presence.

The production is a fusion between classical theater and modern digital reality, Frank said. The show personifies those that are digital celebrities to the point that they are “worshipped like Greek gods,” he said. He added that while the play’s unique perspective is fun and creative, it also takes a more in-depth look at the darker aspects of campus life and American culture.

Frank said one of the highlights of being involved with the show was being able to work with Harris. He also said Harris is as informed as much by the world of popular culture as he is by the traditional theater, creating a unique fusion of the two.

Harris, for his part, said that the idea for the play originated from his own experiences.

“I was sort of inspired when I lived in L.A. and worked in a department store myself and actually met a famous porn star in an art gallery,” he said.

All those involved in the play said they were especially excited about its musical aspects. The play features original music written by Isabella Summers, a member of the band Florence + The Machine who wrote it specifically for the production.

Though plays and musicals often occupy separate spheres in the world of theater, “Xander Xyst, Dragon: 1” combines the two. Frank said some moments in the show are almost like complete concerts. For example, during the opening scene, Matt walks onstage and begins engaging the audience with stunted speech before breaking into song and overcoming his shy personality.

Frank said that he hopes “Xander Xyst, Dragon: 1” will leave the audience asking more questions than it answers. He added that its purpose is to encourage audience members to discuss how people mature as well as the role of the media and its impact on people’s identities.

“Being a playwright, we live in a culture where theater isn’t necessary, but I believe that it is,” Harris said. “I wanted to make the kind of play I wished I could’ve been in.”

The play runs though March 4. Tickets are available online on the Yale Cabaret’s website.