Last year, 34% of young people voted YouTuber as their number one career of choice. Intrigued by this statistic, Claire Gaydon launched her own YouTube channel to find out whether online fame really lived up to its hype. The result is See-Through: a funny and questioning performance that documents her bizarre experience. Through recorded snippets and live action, this show cleverly stages the pressure to over-share and what happens once candid confessions become clickbait.
Claire's parodies of YouTube stars are hilarious.
Given the subject matter, technology is integral to the production. Claire spends much of the performance sitting at a laptop with her back to us, whilst her face appears on a projected screen via webcam. It’s an effective method that highlights the limited perspectives we gain on someone through an online persona. Short videos that show Claire setting up her channel also emphasize the performative nature of social media. In particular, an opening introductory montage had the audience in hysterics. The integration of technology is not 100% seamless. Early scenes of scrolling through search results and YouTube channels feel a little slow, with some audience members squinting to view the screen under the glare. Despite this, Claire manages to switch between a number of different elements (live action, audience engagement, video from multiple devices) without causing the show to feel fragmented. Not to mention her ability to navigate such a network of cables during blackouts!
Claire is clearly a talented performer with a great ear for comic timing. Her parodies of YouTube stars are hilarious and her mimicry of what I can only call ‘the vlogger voice’ (“hi guuuuuys”) is simply spot on. Comedy is not her only strength, however, as she shows poignant vulnerability when recording her most painful personal experience. Through honesty and self-deprecation, the audience quickly warms to her which, given that she has her back to us for most of the show, is pretty impressive.
In short, See-Through is a fun and inventive performance that skilfully picks apart the world of vloggers, videos and the comments underneath. I’ve never seen anything like it.