Of course you are aware of the impact social media platforms have on our lives. Most of us have heard about Cambridge Analytica’s misuse of profiles, harvested by Facebook, to manipulate voters. Many of us have read about the psychological harm that social media platforms have wrought by developing software with a “system of rewards…akin to gambling or drug addiction” making us into digital junkies according to Mattha Busby’s article in The Guardian. Busby explains that Social Media platforms are designed so that every time we click and spend more time on these platforms, it is like a dopamine hit. Some of us have also heard of the parliamentary committee labelling social media platforms, digital gangsters, putting democracy at risk. We cannot fail to have noticed how social media is used to harass, disseminate hatred, bigotry, and discrimination and is damaging to the mental health of users and influencers alike. Despite all these dire warnings I and it seems most other social media users, blithely continue to use these platforms knowing, in the backs of our minds, what is happening.
So why is Theatre Temoin’s Feed such an electric shock to the system? The events in Feed are necessarily over the top to wake us up from sleepwalking through the digital landscape in which social media platforms use algorithms to: predict what we desire, influence our choices and actions and to control us. Feed’s tightly written script and fast paced action cleverly delivers satire, farce and surrealism to reflect this. Feed is also witty, outrageous, subversive and very, very funny. The young schoolgirl character who has a video stream, which begins innocently with make up tutorials, becomes so addicted to the attention which she is so desperate to maintain, that she does increasingly extreme things to herself to keep the number of clicks up. The talented quartet of actors are so versatile, with excellent timing, essential for all the elements of the show; the farce, slo-mo action, the rewinds and repetitive actions, the slapstick, the quick changes and the multiple characters. What makes Feed pack a punch is watching actors perform the online world in real life. The adverts triggered by another character’s words or phrases are performed by the other actors in ways which are brilliant and ridiculous. Events soon become convincingly sinister and creepy, and yet hilarious. Feed portrays an online world impacting on the real world, which turns into a nightmarish and vicious circle of manipulation and exploitation. This is all very entertaining and current, whilst being bizarre and scarily realistic, but hopefully not prescient. Now where shall I post this…?
Feed was at VAULT Festival (Crescent), Leake St, Lambeth, London SE1 7AD
Wednesday 6th – Sunday 10th March 2019