Like a Billion Likes deserves to go viral. Sharply observed…
big laughs… complex and darkly comic. It should be snapped up
by companies around the country.” —Jan Farrington, TheaterJones

Winner: Southwest Playwriting Competition

Winner: Robert Chelsley/Victor Bumbalo Foundation Playwriting Award

Woodward/Newman Drama Award, top 10 finalist

Todd McNerney Playwriting Contest runner up

Inkslinger Playwriting Competition semifinalist

Finalist for the 2016 Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference

From Jan Farrington, TheaterJones: “Who can capture the culture (still semi-alien to us, the untrustworthy over-30s) of social media? Not just social media as part of our lives, we all know about that…but social media as the point of life? Erik Forrest Jackson’s Like a Billion Likes takes a sharply observed stab at doing just that, earning some big laughs at the start—and then edging into complex and darkly comic territory with this tale of a high school girl obsessed with getting the number of ‘clicks’ she needs to go from zero to hero.

Teens and millennials will nod in recognition; the rest of us might be thinking how exhausting it must be to be that ‘on’ all the time, that fearful of disappearing if you’re not getting, like…likes.

And perhaps that’s one of the play’s points—that most of us in the audience are outsiders, remarkably clueless about this newly hatched social order. ‘How’m I supposed to reach you?’ one teen character asks another whose phone has been confiscated as punishment. ‘I have no earthly idea,’ she answers.

Misty Riggs is the new girl in town…again. She lives with her aunt, bouncing along with her from bad job to bad job around the country. Misty has found a friend, Alix, at her new school—and we get the feeling that’s something she hasn’t always been able to count on in her journeying.

‘Aren’t you tired of being nobody?’ Misty asks Alix. ‘We’re practically ghosts. We don’t have money. We’re not popular.’ Misty wants to “matter”—and to her, that means making a splash on social media. She needs a cause, and decides to make videos supporting ‘gays’ in general, and skirt-wearing fellow student Jacey in particular, whether he wants her help or not.

Also drawn into Misty’s wobbly orbit are the two adults of the piece, large-and-in-charge (he thinks) principal Perry Segars, and sensible-seeming school counselor Colleen Benson, Alix’s mother. Misty doesn’t seem like a game changer—she’s woefully, laughably ignorant and awkward—but all these characters’ lives will be different because they know her…

Misty and the others achieve a kind of fame, though they all pay a price, and Jackson’s ending is both intense and strangely unsettling. Perhaps that’s as it should be, since his central character remains an uncomfortable presence from start to finish. She’s both victim and bully: an unfilled soul trying to scrabble a self together, yes, but her rather blank, wide-eyed stare also reveals a certain lack of human feeling. She’ll use the people around her to get what she wants.

And come fire and fury, Misty wants to go viral.”

Like a Billion Likes. A darkly comic new drama.