public domain

17 Jan

LIC DOMAIN
BY FRANCESCA FORRESTAL AND JORDAN PAUL CLARKE
At Southwark Playhouse
I watched this on the computer. I do not find this an easy way to see anything, because the levels of concentration are not as they are in a theatre where we have the benefit of the personality of the actors and the people all around us. Here we are at the mercy of telephone calls, delivery men, people just knocking a the door. No actual visitors, but people knock occasionally to make sure I’m still alive.
Anyway, About the play, I watched this afternoon
, I am afraid I do not have the same excitement over it as others have found.
What it does is give us a clue about what people are prepared nowadays to put down in writing. To make a public diary of their lives.

It was written entirely from posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc, even those written by Mark Zuckerberg, founder and chairman of Facebook the man who put Social Media on the map. We are assured that none of the dialogue was written by the two authors but just adapted by them, who also appeared in the two roles.
Yes, only two people on stage at any time, but there was a lot of technical stuff going on in between the main scenes. It was terrifying in that respect.
The posts wee alarming in several ways. It showed how devastated people are at the moment with covid and the lockdowns. Time is confused by them of course – who wouldn’t be? I remember saying to myself. “I get up at six o’clock with nothing to do and then suddenly it’s four o’clock in the afternoon.”
Time flashes by so quickly – suddenly it becomes Friday again.
Many of the posts are moans about the current situation. People applaud Facebook because it makes them feel less lonely. The actors y sing a song to that effect.”A little less alone”
The two writers/performers are excellent at their various roles as they work on, scene after scene, as the imaginary facebook writers. As teenagers, it is amusing when they give us their instructions on How to be Popular They try to outbid each other as they explain one by one how to get the best friends.
The girl says “Be an influence, stick to the popular crowd, don’t mess with anybody else, you need to make them feel bad.
He said “Be annoying so nobody likes you”
She says” find your niche, add value”,
He says “High school is poison, I should drop out “
She says “be vulnerable, share your weaknesses, show everything but be authentic.”
He says “I don’t want to be irrelevant”.
What they both think is “The future is gonna be better”. How could it be anything else? One hopes.
We go into Zuckerberg land, They take on the characters of Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla. , and talk about the Privacy scandal,
Can you get hold of private documents – “of course”
Can you share them? – “no I can’t”
Somebody says “I’ve been depressed. Now I am completely better when the sun is shining. I’
ts bad in the winter when it gets dark at four o’clock”
The last surge of interest is about TikTok
Welcome to TikTok wherever you are, we are there too. It’s brighter inside.
He says “I got banned from TikTok “
Most of Facebook etc is covered by the various posts. But I did not find this a completely amusing piece of work. I felt sorry for the people who were quoted. Either because they seemed so pathetic. Or because they were doing it purely for effect.
Some of the sketches were amusing but we cannot take the stories as giving any real journey into the heads of the people – as, even on Facebook, I don’t believe people are completely honest about what they feel. Many of the pathetic entries are cries for help and meant to arouse pity in their readers. People can lie with the keyboards just as well as with their vocal cords.
Maybe this is a new kind of theatre. Humanity and machines closely connected.
I am not ready, old enough or young enough to appreciate this.
I cannot blame the couple for the dialogue, as they didn’t write it, they just adapted what other people have said, and I appreciate the fun they must have had putting it together. I envy them this fun. The hit song is something called Rise and Conquer, sung by Francesca. I believe it could become a hit.

Finally, I feel this review might make the same amount of sense to you as this production did to me.

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