Ariel Cipolla on Short Play “The Vultures”

From June 8-25, City Theatre’s Summer Shorts will perform  eight short plays by Miami’s best emerging playwrights at the Arsht Center. In this series the playwrights shared a little with the Jitney about their work.

I think being a teenager is one of the hardest things we go through in life. Seriously! We are forced to navigate the various difficulties of puberty, social dynamics, and the pressure to define our identities. And if that wasn’t enough, the digital age has made being a kid even more challenging. It can sometimes feel incredibly lonely. At least it felt that way to me. When I was 13, I made a promise to myself to always remember and honor the challenges I faced during that age, regardless of how small they may seem in hindsight. This play is me fulfilling that promise.

“The Vultures” tells the story of three teenage girls who get together to “rebrand” themselves online to ensure success and popularity by the time they enter high school. It’s a play about social media, the pressure to curate our online personas, and the extreme lengths we are willing to go to in order to get ahead.

The rapidly evolving world of social media marketing has always fascinated me. We’re constantly bombarded with the message that we are our own products online, and every move we make must be carefully calculated to sell ourselves. While this has opened up incredible opportunities for many, it has also had damaging effects on how young people perceive one another and the unrealistic standards they feel compelled to meet.

Coming from a background in journalism, I believe that attaching information to real-world examples is the most effective way to get your message across. My creative process begins with deep dives into the topics that I obsess over. I’m particularly drawn to the complex nature of being human and how we navigate the blurred lines between right and wrong. It is within this complexity that I discover my characters – individuals who, in their search for goodness and their struggles with their own flaws, become profoundly relatable to anyone who watches.

I am incredibly honored that City Theatre has chosen to premiere my play during their Summer Shorts: Homegrown Edition. My goal is for people to leave the theater with a deeper understanding of what it truly means to be a teenager in today’s eat-or-be-eaten world of social media. And I hope it inspires a desire in all of us to find better ways to listen to and protect our youth.

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Ariel Cipolla

Ariel Cipolla is a Mexican-Argentine playwright and dramaturg living in Miami, FL.