A Short Play by Shane Worrell
KRYSTAL, manic, stylish social media celebrity
CRYSTAL, Krystal’s enthusiastic new social media sidekick
The setting is a lounge room. A couch is situated in the middle of the stage, facing the audience. On it, CRYSTAL sits, engrossed in her smartphone. She hears a knock on the door. She stands up to answer it.
CRYSTAL: Oh … my … God!
(KRYSTAL storms past CRYSTAL towards the centre of the stage, speaking into her smartphone. She is live streaming her arrival.)
KRYSTAL: (Frantically) Krystal – with a “K” for KA—BOOM – has arrived at the home of my brand new, ultra fabulous – hashtag: OMG – new sidekick, Crystal – with a “C”.
Yes, dear subscribers, I have done it. I have made it this far. But my journey is only just beginning.
For now, this is Krystal KA-BOOOM signing off! Live, alive, and super in love with you all. KA-BOOOM!
(Ends stream and turns to Crystal). Hi, I’m Krystal. With a “K” for KA-BOOM.
CRYSTAL: (Excited) I know! I’ve followed you for ages … like, a few weeks. Back when you had only 2 million followers. Remember those days?
KRYSTAL: Oh, darling. My rise to fame has been such a crazy journey. Can you believe I now have 8 billion Twitter followers?
CRYSTAL: Wow, that’s … every person in the whole world! Plus 1 billion more.
KRYSTAL: Mostly angry fans trolling me with a second account because I didn’t answer
their messages – oh, and all those bots with cat avatars.
CRYSTAL: Well, I’m Crystal – with a “C” for … Crystal. But you know that … I mean, you’re here at my house. So that means … I got the job!
KRYSTAL: (Manically): You got the job! Krystal goes … KABOOM. Hashtag: LUCKIEST GIRL ON EARTH. That’s you, darling… you’re my new social media sidekick! We’ll trend everywhere together! Krystal will make you famous, my dear! FAMOUS!
CRYSTAL: I can’t believe this! I mean, no job interview or anything!
KRYSTAL: No need.
CRYSTAL: My CV was that good?
KRYSTAL: Didn’t look at it. Didn’t have to.
KRYSTAL: Your Instagram profile pic said it all! You have a face for success! Hashtag: Hot.
CRYSTAL: This is amazing! Me, your right-hand girl! Your number one shopping buddy. Your co-star in a coming-of-age, drive-across-the-country-in-an-open-top-sports-car TV shows that blurs the lines between reality and Hollywood drama! I gotta get this on social media. (Takes out phone.)
KRYSTAL: No, wait. Stop. I’ll do it. I’ll Facebook Live your reaction.
CRYSTAL: Great. What will I say?
KRYSTAL: In fact, stand over there. (Ushers Crystal to another part of the room then takes out phone and starts filming herself.)
Krystal Ka-boom is back live. And we are celebrating big tonight. Hashtag: [sings] can you Twitter handle this? I don’t think you can Twitter handle this.
Krystal with a “K” delivers again with her trademark KA-BOOM.
I have a brand new sidekick. A second me. A familiar Facebook. Someone always up for a Snapchat. Someone there for me in an Instagram. Someone who wants to share MySpace. A Kindle spirit.
And her name is Crystal – with a “C” for, hashtag, “Can you believe this?” I can’t believe this.
She is so excited about being my sidekick that she is too nervous to even appear on camera.
But let’s give her a big social media shoutout. Hashtag: Welcome, sister! Hashtag: Crystal with a “C”. Hashtag: my beautiful sidekick. [KRYSTAL presses stop and puts her phone down by her side.]
[She looks to CRYSTAL, who is staring at her puzzled.]
What? Was it the MySpace reference? Look, I know that was so 2005 … but it was for dramatic effect.
CRYSTAL: I would have appeared on camera. I’m not nervous.
KRYSTAL: [Ignores comment and checks phone again.] You’re trending, baby. You’re trending like nothing else. Hashtag: You didn’t even commit a crime to get his exposure, girl. Hashtag: Innocent!
CRYSTAL: Wow! I’ve never trended before.
KRYSTAL: Get used to it.
CRYSTAL: OK, so this role is already super cool. What do you want me to do? Follow you to fashion shows? Walk poodles with you in the park? Create a distraction for the paparazzi when you want to drink a milkshake without being described as “losing the Battle of the Bulge”? Oh, I want to put my all into this role.
KRYSTAL: Your all, eh? Hmm. How much do you weigh?
CRYSTAL: How much do I weigh? Why? Do you think I’m losing the Battle of the Bulge?
KRYSTAL: No, you’re fine. But I need to explain something. So tell me: how much do you weight?
CRYSTAL: About 60 kilos, I guess.
KRYSTAL: That’s 60 kilos more than you need.
CRYSTAL: Did you just call me fat? Oh, wait … what? Are you saying I should weigh … nothing?
KRYSTAL: Babe, I’m making a point here. Hashtag: Don’t freak out on me. This is not about calling you fat. I’m saying that in this role, you don’t need to weigh anything.
CRYSTAL: What are you talking about?
KRYSTAL: This role – as my sidekick – is one of weightlessness. All you need is to look good in a profile pic. It’s all about this little space. [Makes a square action with her hands around her shoulders, ears and the top of her head.]
And, Crystal with a “C” – hashtag: stunner – you look great in a profile pic.
CRYSTAL: Thank you.
KRYSTAL: Crystal, I’ve never seen anything like your profile pic. You are beautiful. Hashtag: are you fucking kidding me? But just one thing.
KRYSTAL: [Inspecting Crystal’s face up close] You don’t quite look the same in real life.
CRYSTAL: I don’t?
KRYSTAL: No one does. Don’t worry about it.
CRYSTAL: I could use the same filter on my selfies when I go to fashion shows with you.
KRYSTAL: [Pauses before answering] Let’s get a few things straight, Crystal. This role is about your profile pic. Your online presence. There’s no physical presence needed.
CRYSTAL: So, I won’t be going to fashion shows with you?
KRYSTAL: I need a sidekick. I need a friend. I need someone who will always be there for me. Someone who will always look good. Someone who will defend my honour when the trolls come. Hashtag: Two hearts as one.
CRYSTAL: But people will only see me in my profile pic?
KRYSTAL: Precisely. In fact, this is probably the only time we will ever see each other face-to-face.
CRYSTAL: But I’m your sidekick.
KRYSTAL: Yes, and it will say that in your Twitter bio.
CRYSTAL: So what am I supposed to do then?
KRYSTAL: Just big me up online.
CRYSTAL: Be a sycophant?
KRYSTAL: You make it sound so shallow! This is as much about selling your own unique, sophisticated, inner self to the world! Yes, it’s about your profile pic, but it’s as much about you as a person. Hashtag: (loudly) IT’S WHAT’S INSIDE THAT COUNTS.
CRYSTAL: Well, that’s positive, I suppose. I’ve always preferred substance over style anyway. But if I just happen to have substance and look flawless in a profile pic then, hashtag: THANK YOU GOD.
KRYSTAL: That’s the spirit. So, Crystal – Hashtag: with a “C” – this is about extracting that substance, sharing it and retweeting it for a generation of twits – I mean twitterers – via H2H Marketing. Hashtag: Human contact with a twist.
CRYSTAL: What’s the twist?
KRYSTAL: There’s no human contact, not even online! Absolutely none! Hashtag: Innovation celebration!
CRYSTAL: Sorry? So how do I get my message across? How do I big you up while
showing the world what a great sidekick you have?
KRYSTAL: We build your online brand.
CRYSTAL: I have experience doing that. I ran a social media campaign for —
KRYSTAL: No, no, no: we extract it from you. Consider it uploaded to an external cloud. Hashtag: The sky’s the limit, baby!
We just have to ensure this really is your unique substance; we would hate to fabricate a personality. Krystal Ka-boom is all about authenticity! And you’re no fashion accessory! Hashtag: Keepin’ it real, sister.
CRYSTAL: You’re losing me.
KRYSTAL: I need to know more about you. What is your preferred height?
CRYSTAL: My preferred height? Well, my actual height is 165cm.
KRYSTAL: No, sorry, not in centimetres.
CRYSTAL: Ok, so 5 foot-
KRYSTAL: No, not in feet. What kind of height best suits you? Is a dizzying height too much? [Scratches chin to indicate mind ticking over] No, that might lead to rumours of drug abuse. Hashtag: Do not go there, girlfriend.
CRYSTAL: I don’t follow.
KRYSTAL: I’ve got it – a new height. You take things to new heights. You are a pioneer.
Let’s climb Mount Everest – at least, let’s aspire to that. Hashtag: base camp, baby!.
CRYSTAL: Look, let me tell you a bit about myself.
CRYSTAL: I’m honest.
KRYSTAL: You tell it like it is!
CRYSTAL: I’m hard-working.
KRYSTAL: You’re success driven!
CRYSTAL: I get work done quickly.
KRYSTAL: You excel at real-time engagement!
CRYSTAL: I’m interested in expanding my horizons and meeting new people.
KRYSTAL: You’re going to geotarget like no one geotargets!
KRYSTAL: This can all be extracted.
CRYSTAL: What do you mean by extracted, anyway?
KRYSTAL: My earlier point about weightlessness, Crystal. This is not about your physical form. It’s about uploading your substance – your very essence – and using it to meet the new demands of online business – where impressions are everything.
CRYSTAL: Look, I can impress people with my work ethic.
KRYSTAL: No, it’s not about you “impressing” people. It’s about page “impressions”, using your substance to drive traffic to all the Krystal Ka-boom pages. People don’t have to like the content once they get there – they just have to get there. Like you … your essence just has to be there.
KRYSTAL: On social media. As my sidekick. But as I said, it’s about extraction. We don’t need you to actually do anything. We just need you to aspire to do something. Hashtag: Be the best that you can be!
CRYSTAL: So, I just need some goals?
KRYSTAL: Precisely! But don’t waste time pursuing them!
CRYSTAL: Why not?
KRYSTAL: Because that would take time away from developing your next set of goals!
CRYSTAL: But then I will never achieve anything!
KRYSTAL: It’s not about achieving things. It’s about being seen as the kind of person who aspires to achieve things! There’s too much wasted time spent actually pursuing goals.
CRYSTAL: There is?
KRYSTAL: Yes. Why climb Everest when you can just tweet that you want to climb Everest? No one cares if you actually go through with it.
CRYSTAL: But that sounds kind of like living a lie.
KRYSTAL: Not at all. It’s simply rethinking the H2H Marketing Model.
CRYSTAL: I’m not sure if I really buy that.
KRYSTAL: It’s rebranding you – my sidekick – from consumer to producer while still allowing you to consume. Tell me, do you like watching films?
KRYSTAL: Then you get films … you are creative. Probably an aspiring filmmaker, if we’re honest. But guess what: “aspiring” doesn’t fit in your social media bio. Too many characters. So, you are simply a “filmmaker”. There. Hashtag: TELLING IT LIKE IT IS!
CRYSTAL: What’s that got to do with my role?
KRYSTAL: Because I need to package up all of your production value into one short Twitter bio. As for Instagram, that’s where we start aligning your substance and your style with market forces.
CRYSTAL: You want me to sell products?
KRYSTAL: Not exactly sell them, no. Big brands are not likely to give you cash sponsorship just yet. But you have to be seen to aspire to sell products.
CRYSTAL: How would I do that?
KRYSTAL: We share pics of anything you have bought. [Makes inverted commas with fingers and puts on a sarcastic voice] “This perfume makes me smell like a popstar who is paid to say she loves this perfume.” Garbage like that.
CRYSTAL: But wouldn’t that be just doing the job of an advertiser … only for free?
KRYSTAL: No, Crystal, with a “C” – hashtag: get a grip – you are not selling products: you are the product. At least your Instagram account is. The product that aspires to sell other products – profitable products. The beauty is: nothing else is required from you. Just aspiration.
CRYSTAL: So what exactly do I do?
KRYSTAL: You get to work. You aspire. You dream. But don’t worry, you are no longer responsible for what you post. So, you just need to sit on the couch … aspiring.
CRYSTAL: Sorry? What about my tweets? And my Instagram pics?
KRYSTAL: Your data will be processed and a basic algorithm developed. A bot will then generate social media content for your accounts based on the substance we have extracted from you. Updates will be generated from your aspirations.
CRYSTAL: A computer will do it all for me? A bot will tweet and post as me?
KRYSTAL: My smartphone has captured all of your substance from this conversation.
The upload is complete.
CRYSTAL: But you still hardly know me.
KRYSTAL: Your new career as my social media sidekick has begun, Crystal! Hashtag: BFFs, Hashtag: SISTER FROM ANOTHER MOTHER, Hashtag: KRYSTAL GOES KA- BOOOOM!
CRYSTAL: So I just sit here and get paid?
KRYSTAL: Oh, there’s no money in this, my dear! You don’t get paid – you just aspire to be paid! Hashtag: Sidekicks do it for the love! Hashtag: KILLER SIDEKICK!
Clearly fed up, CRYSTAL takes a deep breathe, gets out her phone and begins typing.
KRYSTAL: [Yells] Hey, put that down. You’re not allowed to use that anymore! You don’t want to damage your brand!
CRYSTAL: (Reading out loud while typing): “I’m no longer responsible for what I post! Excuse me, while I damage my brand here, but I’ve always aspired to be a martial arts expert … and right now, I aspire to deliver a KILLER SIDEKICK!
KRYSTAL: You what?
CRYSTAL: (Continuing to type) CRYSTAL GOES KABOOM!
KRYSTAL: Sorry, what? Oh my.
(Krystal tries to live stream her exit as Crystal begins physically attacking her. Krystal retreats from the stage with Crystal in pursuit.)