Vibrations was very sweet. It was exactly as advertised: a short, witty play about platonic love, connection and growing up. As a 16-year-old living in the midst of a global pandemic, connection and growing up have understandably been on my mind quite a lot. When Sam and Eli stood on a hill, looking down at the town below them, eating Tangfastics and thinking about how big they’ll be when their lives really start, I immediately connected with this show. They did a lovely job of conveying these teenage thoughts that feel too big for your own brain, and I’m sure any young person watching will agree that Vibrations was an accurate portrayal of the hormonal high school experience.
When the director, Bex, introduced the piece, and said that some actors hadn’t ever met in real life, I was prepared to watch the characters share some stilted banter, some cringeworthy fake laughter, and fail at an attempt at some meaningful eye contact through the screen. There wasn’t any of this, and the dynamics were surprisingly believable over Zoom. The friendships felt real, the painfully familiar, awkward teenage flirting wasn’t too cringeworthy to watch, and each character relationship felt distinct and different. It was clear that the actors had made an effort to make their interactions seem spontaneous and natural.
The dreaded Zoom barrier was tackled effectively with the use of film. Being on screen comes with a lot of issues, one of which being that the actors can’t physically interact. I’ve seen more than a few awkward attempts at virtual hand-holding, where one actor is reaching in the wrong direction while the other is looking about five centimetres above the other’s head. The incorporation of videos in Vibrations avoided this, by showing us a mix of videos that acted as a visual placeholder while we had the freedom to create a scene in our heads, without the issue of the characters maintaining a six-feet distance.
I really liked Vibrations. I connected with the angsty teens, watching their friendship go through its ups and downs, satisfied when they reconnected at the end of the show. I had three main thoughts after watching: I can’t wait for my life to properly start, I’m relieved I haven’t had to sit through another awkward Zoom kiss, and I’m craving Tangfastics.