July 21, 2019

To what extent is the threat of dehumanization and ubiquitous use of technology affecting our society, our relationships and our mental health?

Sanaa Estibal

Canned Rebellion in Cold Supermarkets, 2019

My play focuses on the modest lives of four cashiers who work in a cold provincial supermarket and try to make ends meet. Their world is turned upside down when three self-checkout machines are installed. Faced with the threat of unemployment, the four women decide to rebel. They fight to preserve their supermarket, the last bastion of the old era, from a new, dehumanised era of automatic voices. However, amidst the growing paranoia, chaos and neurosis, another threat becomes apparent: our human tendency towards self-destruction.

My entry explores various topics such as the overuse of technology and its consequences on our mental health, along with other social issues such as unemployment and hardships faced by single mothers, immigrants and students. Furthermore, by focusing on female characters, I wanted to show how we are, us women, encouraged to compete with each other for male attention. These machines, with their perfect automatic female voices, pose a threat to the female characters by representing the ‘perfect women’, in the eyes of the male characters. They push the female characters to question themselves and our social construct of ‘femininity’.

By entering the world of four low-income women, the audience is compelled to acknowledge and face these important issues. I hope my play can raise a bit more awareness and also allow for a constructive dialogue to take place, despite its apparent cynicism.