Art has always been used as a platform for social commentary. Shakespeare’s Othello taught us about gender inequality and racism. Picasso’s Guernica was a statement against atrocious Nazi bombings. Red Necklace Productions’ It’s All The Rage, directed by Alicia Drisdelle, exposes this generation’s biggest double edged sword—social media.
We all want to love and to be loved. Loneliness is likely the most prevalent and the most veiled struggle we all face. Social media is turning out to be the great placebo. We don’t even need to get out of bed to feel as though we are entirely connected with a world of like-minded people. While this feeling of connection can be a source of comfort, it often comes with a price. Anonymity can do strange things to people. The internet does an interesting job of blurring the line between expression and exploitation.
Enter Saxton (Electra Woodhead-Smith), a self-obsessed young women with a YouTube channel—a dangerous combination. Find yourself unwittingly becoming a subscriber as you are dragged through a series of disappointing Valentine’s Days. Her primping, selfies, and hashtags will have you laughing out loud as she reminds you of all the things you despise about social media. But beware, as you may find some of it hitting too close to home by the end. How quickly we all are validated by the affirmations of others, real or imagined.
Meeting Jacob (Marty Bourgeois) might have you cringing right off the bat. Don’t be surprised if general discomfort turns into actual concern. You may just leave the theatre feeling a little bit hollow as you consider the implications of our strange online existences. That being said, the messiness of this surprisingly human encounter may have you feeling almost sentimental as the odd link between Saxton and Jacob is revealed.
Watch as Saxton and Jacob transform from larger than life characters into images of your own friends, neighbours, and co-workers. You may even find yourself uncomfortably reflected in their chaotic attempts at connection. It’s almost impossible not to get caught in the cross fire.
Prepare yourselves to laugh, groan, and balk as lives lived online are exposed for the less than glamorous affairs they are. A timely and excellently presented piece, It’s All The Rage is a must see for modern audiences.
It’s All The Rage is playing February 6th at 7:30PM at the BMO Studio Theatre.