Beautiful Nothing

All that glitters is not gold, a message that is incredibly clear in Em Oliver’s Beautiful Nothing. A study on how society treats women in the spotlight, this is an incredibly thought-provoking monologue.

Incredibly hard-hitting viewing

We meet Aanya (Bhav Amar) before she is set to give a press conference. She discusses her experience in the film industry, how her life has been controlled by producers, media and the public. Throughout we learn more about specific events in her life, family and relationships, as the story keep developing. The lines between the private and public blur, giving a glimpse behind the curtain of an incredibly conflicted person who has had no control over who she is.

It’s a bittersweet and pertinent tale, as Amar puts into words what we see in the media nowadays. Surrounded by drop cloths with derogatory comments and frustreated thoughts, we cannot help but pity Aanya and be horrified at the way that she has been commodified and treated. Amar switches between Aanya and her voice and thoughts as they happen, as well ass everyone who had control over her over the course of her career, and she imagines they planned to profit from her . Amar's tone switches from biting and sarcastic to vulnerability, so fast that it causes emotional whiplash, trying to connect with us the entire time.

The most important thing about this show is the way that it reflects back at our own reality, because we can see this story play out in tabloids and social media in real time. From unrealistic beauty and double standards, we see how women in the public eye have been harrassed and sexualized. Unfortunately, nothing that we see on the stage is news to us, to the point where we are almsot desensitized to it all. So while we are invested in Aanya’s story, and get angry at how she is treated, what we see in Beautiful Nothing doesn’t particualrly say anything we don't already know and beat against.

This show is haunting, if only because we are seeing a physical representation of what many experience only online. It definitely shakes us up, and the ending in particular. An incredibly poignant piece of theatre, Beautiful Nothing is incredibly hard-hitting viewing for so early in the day.

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Reviews by Katerina Partolina Schwartz

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The Blurb

This one-woman show explores a girl at the cusp of womanhood. A career that has flung her into the public eye. Naïve yet old past her years. Resisting a society that insists on seeing her as a sexual object. Coming to terms with her sexuality that resists this even further. Aanya is a bundle of beautiful contradictions, and yet she feels like nothing.

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