Glasgow theatre company Tidy Carnage explore the modern phenomenon of internet shaming by fusing theatre and film through Shame, written and performed by Belle Jones. Supported by a digital cast of sixteen actors, we watch the warm and cheeky Vicky home alone waiting, riddled with anxiety over her 15 year-old daughter Kiera (Sarah Miele), who has gone missing after being exposed in a video of an ‘intimate’ nature has gone viral across the internet.

A simple yet effective reminder to the audience that even if a person makes a mistake – it doesn’t mean they are a bad person.

Performed in one of Assembly’s George Square Studios the audience are seated behind seminar tables facing a stage designed simply with a large projector screen and the actor sat with her iPad and a cup of tea. This contributed to the atmosphere an impression that the audience were invited to assess the events divulged by Vicky and a digital Kiera’s video blogs. Belle Jones delivers a genuine and moving performance as the young mother experiencing the dark side of social media and ‘slut shaming’. Combined with an honest and witty digital performance given by Linda Duncan McLaughlin as grandmother Senga, we see three generations of women drawing parallels and examining how social stigma has evolved with with internet.

Jones’ charm, witty stories and command of the stage is mesmerising – the audience are captivated by her every word. However, in the moments of Vicky’s fury and pressing distress, it looked as though she was unable to fully dedicate herself to those darker emotions to match any flashes of violent text, which ended up breaking any tension created on stage rather than focusing it. Sarah Miele’s video blogs projected onto the screen took us to more intimate parts of Vicky and Kiera’s home life, her playfulness and innocence making the injustice of the social media shaming more shocking; bringing it closer to home.

With an emotive video uploaded to social media from Kiera’s aunt Cheryl (Sarah McCardle) we experience the unifying abilities of the internet. Rallying the wider web-world to speak out about their shame in support of Kiera and others who have been publicly humiliated, McCardle’s on-screen performance was deeply moving, and serves as a simple yet effective reminder to the audience that even if a person makes a mistake – it doesn’t mean they are a bad person. A satisfying discovery about Shame is that the #Unshamed project is a real online movement working alongside the show to promote solidarity and support for victims of this type of abuse. 

Reviews by Isabella Javor

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The Blurb

A new mixed media theatre piece analysing the concepts of shame and empathy in modern, hyperconnected culture. Shame examines how the vilification of female sexuality has evolved alongside technology and fuses live text with projected media to explore the juxtaposition of real life and online personae. Part of #FuturePlayFest

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