Erin Shields’ Instant hit deftly shows dangers of Snapchat age

Timely in its material, this short play for 12+ audiences skilfully navigates the risks and rewards of putting oneself on social media.

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Dakota Jamal Wellman plays Jay, a young man who hopes to get recruited to a professional hockey team so he can pull his family out of socio-economic precarity, in Instant. (SYSTEM / YOUNG PEOPLE'S THEATRE)

This play for audiences aged 12 and up packs an impressive amount of timely material into a 45-minute running time. The theme is the risks and rewards of putting yourself out there on social media — something that, as the three actors pointed out in a post-show discussion, is more complex and acute for today’s teenagers than the rest of us can probably imagine.

Dean Patrick Fleming’s deft staging for Geordie Productions toured Quebec schools last year and is currently playing at Young People’s Theatre for school groups and, on the weekends, public audiences.

Meredith (Michelle Rambharose) is a budding singer/songwriter who dreams of stardom but holds back from putting her own stuff on YouTube, posting covers instead. For Jay (Dakota Jamal Wellman), getting recruited to a professional hockey team could bring his family out of socio-economic precarity, so Meredith helps him by posting videos of his best on-ice moves, in hopes he’ll be spotted by the pros.

When awkward Rosie (Leah Fong) goes viral with a crowdfunding campaign for her sick dad, Meredith is consumed with jealousy and lashes out online. The three schoolmates’ lives grow more intertwined and more fraught

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