Edinburgh Fringe 2018
Welcome to the stimulating world of Feed, where emotions are the currency, and your passions and fantasies will be indulged… for a price. Témoin return, bringing their vibrant visual style to the world of clickbait culture, fake news and cyber gluttony.
We first meet the SEO – Search Engine Optimiser – of a large company. His sincerity and personable nature is relatable and draws us in. Then the show unfolds with innovative scenes and vignettes to illustrate and elaborate his points. The show is about the clickbait culture of the Internet that is in the news and that we are deeply implicated in – innocently or simply tempted by headlines.
Our SEO is in the scenes as a narrator and characters – his progression is effective and terrifying, when we see how simple ideas can escalate rapidly into greed and vanity on the Internet.
The visuals of the very creative functioning set are attractive and transform effectively. A wall comprising patina coloured blocks is used as a multi level stage area with fascinating nooks and crannies.
The story of this devised physical theatre piece asks us what tech companies do…the short answer is that they “spunk out stuff to see what people like best.” Yet, how do they mange this? What does the general public know about this when they surf the net daily on their devices…and most importantly how are young people affected?
Feed was developed and researched out of a series of workshops with young people, the devising cast and performers, Jonathan Peck, Louise Lee, Nina Cassells, Yasmine Yagchi, together with director, Ailin Conant. While many understand how advertising, increasingly ridiculous or malevolent articles/videos/headlines are often driven by clickbaiting – many people are not, and parents are often unknowing of the depth of this culture, even when they do keep up with technology to protect their children. The undercurrents and ramifications about how clickbaiting starts are clearly shown in the fascinating scenes enacted by the cast of four.
It all starts when a journalist posts an article she has written online about a political situation in the Middle East and uses a photograph taken by her partner without her permission. The article goes viral and the partner finds out about her photograph used without permission – which is unethical and dishonest.
From this article a vlogger picks it up as an entrée into her videos about beauty techniques – with extreme, but just about believable (in today’s news) results. Exponentially clicking on an article, then a link that looks like another article or video about something we are interested in, and another grows and expands the algorithms until our device and maybe personal information is unknowingly swept along in the vast miasma we know as the Internet.
Feed is skilfully told through narration, scenes, physical storytelling, advertisements (of course), and more! The show skips through topics that are serious, funny, ironic, comedic or sarcastic – building to the impactful ending.
This is an excellent show – well-performed and directed creative and complete show that entertains – and informs about an important subject. Highly Recommended!