The latest offering as part of The Other Room’s Spring Fringe Season is Claire Gaydon’s See-Through. Premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2018, See-Through is a personal take on the You-Tube phenomenon.
Last year, 34% of young people voted YouTuber as their top career choice. Comparing this to aspirations to be lawyers and doctors, See-Through explores the option to be a YouTuber to create a rapport with an audience.
See-Through leaves you with all the questions. Whilst the amount of time on YouTube per person might astound, I reflected on my three children, who prefer YouTube to television and films. I constantly reflect that the same reservations my parents had to television (especially when the number of channels went beyond 4) are holding true to my need to have boundaries around time on the internet.
Claire Gaydon presents these questions creatively. Walking into the theatre space, Claire is on stage, sat facing a screen. The dominance of the performance takes place with Claire’s back to the audience. Focused on her screen, on entertaining the audience beyond the screen.
For this, See-Through creates context and space to the question it brings its audience. This is about the world that shares from a screen, to those closest to ‘friends they haven’t met’. The techniques employed, from ‘live vlogging’ to excerpts of pre-recorded content offer the variety to appreciate the world being created and the cost of sharing.
And for what begins as fun and with humour, See-Through confidently taking on the complexities of YouTube. From becoming a brand with all it entails. Creating engaging content, and opening up both the clickbait world as well as that of trolling. The need for validation slowly unravelling under the costs incurred.
The short performance covers much ground. With the clickbait route to fame and followers adopted, so the oversharing takes hold. There are many moments humour incorporating the cringeworthy. These moments are subtly overtaken by the reality of the boundaries between a person and the online persona.
The production leaves much to be processed. In successfully grasping the question of persona and the YouTube opportunity, there is more than simply question of striving towards a career and creating one instantly.
What are the consequences for those seeking to become YouTubers? In a world which chooses to share on social media messages that were once most immediately shared with loved ones, how are relationships affected? And what does happen when it does go wrong- where is the balance of importance? Is YouTube more or less than anything else? Or simply another interpretation of the choices which have always been there?
On the surface, See-Through presents the superficiality of YouTubers, of hacks and click-bait. It cleverly leaves you with the appreciation of humour. An appreciation that when you ask the question which reaches into our culture and our individuality the possibilities are endless.
See-Through is at The Other Room, Cardiff until Sunday 24th February 2019. Tickets are available via the website.
Disclosure: I received a ticket for this performance for the purpose of this review. All words and opinions contained are my own.