Selfies, Shaming And Social Suicide
Exploring the pressures of young people in an age of advancing technology.
Running for its second, and final, weekend a new show with an impressive all-female cast is making waves in the local theatre scene. 'Girls Like That' explores the pressures of young people in an age of advancing technology, tackling hard-hitting issues such as feminism, sexuality, bullying, and the fickleness of female friendships.
The production is brought to us by the Masquerade Theatre Company, and is based off the award winning play by Canadian-British playwright Evan Placey. Directed by Polly March, also a noted actress, ‘Girls Like That’ is impressively staged almost completely in the round, which means it has to look and sound good from every angle in the Blue Box theatre studio. And it does.
The play itself is highly demanding of the female-only cast of seventeen bright young things, each playing a schoolgirl throughout their time at St. Helen’s- a school for gifted pupils. The cast carry it off with high octane energy and ease; they are so in synch with their routine and each other that they’ll have you believing they really have known each other since the start of primary school.
When a naked photo of one of the girls gets leaked, it quickly spreads like wildfire throughout the school. The rest of the St Helen’s girls are not quick to defend their lifelong classmate, Scarlett, to say the least. How the teenagers react to the scandal is amplified and exaggerated by their close proximity to each other in the bubble of the school hallways. They are glued to their phones and just can’t stop talking about it. It must be their teenage hormones. Or is it?
Even as adults we’ve all, at some point, been witness to or heard about the horrors of leaked photos and video footage. In an age where this sort of invasion of privacy could literally make or break you, there’s no denying situations like this could have lethal consequences. A recent case in point is the story of Italian woman Tiziana Cantone, who was laid to rest earlier this month after taking her own life after months of mental torture following the leak of a sexual video she sent to her ex-boyfriend and three others, who put it online. It was seen by millions. The words she said in the video were spun into a hashtag, a slogan, printed onto phone cases, t-shirts… Yes, t-shirts. A living nightmare, and a very modern tragedy.
Locally you couldn’t escape the “Shower Time Bro” catchphrase, lifted from a viral Maltese video which was in equal parts buddy-comedy and pornographic. It was funny. But was it? At least the woman in the video wasn’t local…right? But then what about the infamous “naked selfie ring” a few years back, in which a shockingly large number of young local girls had their supposedly private photos shared time and time again all over our small island? Brutal.
It’s productions like ‘Girls Like That’ that get us talking, that stir something in our conscience and make us think twice about judging, or worse, shaming, the subjects of these photos.
“Us girls gotta stick together” is a line that occurs through the play when we meet four characters from the past, each representing a different milestone in British feminism history of the twentieth century. Fast-forward to a new generation of millennials and those words should still be as relevant as ever. Apart from not dragging each other down, it’s just as important to big each other up, to empower eachother.
This play is sure to give any audience member a close-up look at the extremely high calibre of our homegrown actresses on the local drama scene. Every single one of those seventeen young women manage to share yet own that stage. They bring it. There are moments of such pure talent and brilliance in ‘Girls Like That’ that it’ll stun you.
It’s girls like that you’ve gotta watch out for.
Girls Like That is on this weekend, 30th September to 2nd October at M Space, Pieta (next to Junior College). Tickets are €15 and available from www.bluebox.com.mt or through the ticket hotline: 79793737 / 21246619.