Technology has seemingly made everything in our lives easier- but we’re less aware of the emotional toll of social media and its effect on our mental health. Be Productions leads a thought-provoking but sometimes underdeveloped investigation into the relationship between young women and the technology that dictates their lives at Greenside Infirmary Street.
<3_Error 404_<3, an original play, consists of a combination of monologues, short scenes, and physical theatre- and sometimes a combination of all three. It keeps a good balance, making sure long chunks of text don’t go without some sort of movement happening on stage. The tone chops and changes- it can be comical- there’s a scene in which the company, as adolescent girls, trade gossip on the illustrious One Direction, all the time punctuated with an ‘xx’. It can be touching- a scene in which a girl discusses the upsides to Facetime as it keeps her in contact with her family who lives far away. And it can be uncomfortable- one monologue centres around the particular problems of being a woman on the Internet- rude comments, harassment, low self-esteem.
While the pace is consistent, it does lag at times. The show often repeats itself, while neglecting to make a deeper conclusion about the issues it brings up. And while the inclusion of different accents can be entertaining, but come across as contrived at points. It’s these downfalls that makes the show come across as slightly amateur. Despite this, the performances are strong from the entire company- made up of Eirinn Kilvington, Aisling Willis, Amy Iles, Chloë Lytton, and Clementine Hall- and the play’s message is sincere.
While the substance of the piece is thought-provoking, I had wished it had drawn some more precise conclusions on the topics it brought up. However, smooth physical theatre and sincere performances from the company are the show’s redeeming qualities.