"I want to make a Gameboy...for girls," boasted the female character of an original play about the underrepresentation of women in technology fields.
"iDream" came to The State Theatre, 130 W. College Ave., this weekend at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday.
The Penn State College of Information Sciences and Technology presented the free, staged reading in conjunction with The State Theatre and the National Science Foundation.
"iDream" chronicles three girls, beginning with their first interaction with a cell phone on a playground in 2001 and transitions into their senior year of high school, where they are trying to figure out how to major in various information technology fields when they attend college.
The three girls each encounter their own obstacles along the way.
The character of Khadi is a black, female basketball player who has a father in Afghanistan and is left to take care of her family, while also pursuing a career in robotics.
Amanda is a blonde student, obsessed with her boyfriend and texting, who finds solace in a career in cryptology.
On the other hand, Theresa is the World of Warcraft player that comes from a Latino background and is told that she must go to beauty school. Theresa becomes the class valedictorian and aims to pursue a career in game design, which counters her father's wishes.
The cast is rounded out by the roles of Titus, Khadi's artist boyfriend, Darryl, the musician, and Ms. Donahue, the teacher who helps them all find their paths.
The playwrights for "iDream," Eileen and Suzanne Trauth, along with the cast members held a question-and-answer session at the end of the performance.
"iDream" has been shown at three previous venues prior to its stop in State College and the play is continuously being developed, Producing Artistic Director of Premiere Stages John Wooten said before the play began.
The play's main audience is normally high school students and college students that are undecided in their future careers, Eileen said.
The play also posed as a study to educate the general public about careers in computer and information science and engineering fields.
At the beginning of the play, a survey was given to all audience members to question them about what they believe a person in information technology looks and acts like.
At the conclusion of the play, audience members were told to visit the play's website and complete a follow-up online survey.
"One of our goals is to check in with the audience and see how they identify with the stories," Eileen said in the discussion.
The actors themselves were greatly impacted by the script, as well.
Marisel Polanco played Theresa in the play and said that it was an "eye opener."
"It is shocking that women still have to struggle in certain fields," she said.
Daniel Boisrond, who played Titus, said in the discussion that he wasn't aware of how intense obstacles were, though he was aware of the existence of such.
The discussion stirred up much interest from community members, who discussed their children's future and the ambiguity that can be found in the play.
Stephanie Koons, a student in the College of Information Sciences and Technology, was in the audience and said that the play was powerful.
"It brought issues to life," she said. "The beliefs shown are deeply ingrained in society."
The writers did a good job portraying issues that have layers and are complex, she said.
Karen Keifer-Boyd is the project evaluator for "iDream" and said that she has seen the play four times.
"I pay attention to the audience," she said.
Keifer-Boyd said that in other high schools there was more laughter and students were "sitting on the edge of their seats."
In comparison, the audience in The State Theatre on Sunday was much quieter, she said.
The performance is recorded for this reason, Keifer-Boyd said.
"It is important to understand the complexity of student life," she said.
The play's website iDreamThePlay.com contains future plans and will put up the script and links for those interested in technology fields.
"iDream" reaches out to communities and the feedback has been crucial, Keifer-Boyd said.
"The goal is to recognize barriers and to overcome them through information and understanding," she said.