/ Art

Review: SELF by Michael Beets

SELF is a tale of late-teen dilemma; ever-growing essay piles, the pressure to look camera ready at every given moment and, most tormenting of all, boys! This theatrical experience took me back to my adolescence, the hours I would fill with the meaningless distractions of life, that somehow made my teen years so exciting and caused endless butterflies in my stomach.

SELF is like nothing I have seen before in theatre. It is a unique combination of live and pre-recorded video performance working simultaneously on stage and wait … through your handheld smartphone device! It’s a one-woman show with a simple set that is brought to life by her video chats and voice messages between her best friend and male crush. Through this notable creation of second-screen theatre, the audience is introduced to characters that are never physically present but, with credit to director Michael Beets, somehow the audience still bares judgment toward these 2D individuals.

With the use of social media, voice activated technology and foul-mouthed dialogue, the ‘love-triangle’ theme in this piece has taken a higher ground, and serves to burst the romantic and emotional bubble that some might find all to cliché and sickly.

For many, it’s a plot not far from personal experience, as a distant (or not so distant) memory of immaturity. We can relate to Nataleigh, she is our protagonist; our hero, and we want to protect her from her own naivety and self-inflicted embarrassment. Current media phenomena also have a voice, from young celebrities out of control, to the latest addictive gaming app.

There are some laugh-out-loud moments and watch out for Nataleigh’s promiscuous mother, she’ll make you cringe with humiliation!

Where: Strictly Designers, 55A Fuxing East Road
When: 22nd May-8th June (Thu-Sun Only)
Website: www.michaelbeats.com/self
Tickets: 200RMB/presale only. Email [email protected] or call 182 0216 4553 to book

Words by Hannah Cherrington-Hall