BWW Review: SEE YOU at The New Ohio Theatre from The Bridge Production Group
Swipe, scan, pause, like. Swipe, scan, pause, like. Feel familiar? Part of the attraction and addiction to scrolling through social media is its mind-numbing repetition. A similar effect infuses the U.S. premiere of SEE YOU: a group of verbose 20-somethings vying for superior digital cultural status weigh the risks and rewards of creating and sustaining a digital presence. For these seemingly self-absorbed characters, their lives are defined by (and basically depend on) how well they curate compelling online personas. Thus, what begins as an egocentric free-for-all eventually dovetails into how a deliberate data breach among friends (with benefits) exposes secrets, truths and consequences.
Although the talented cast goes nameless (in the script they are enumerated as ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR AND FIVE), we quickly get a sense of their identities by their club-ready attire (tasteful monochromatic costumes from Nicole Allen) and their elaborate spoken profiles:
ONE (Adriane Moreno): "My motto: Ladies first/Interests: Fashion, Style, Dress for success, Long coat, Blouse, Dress, Tights, RW&Co., Mango, Coco Chanel, Diesel, My mother's old boots/Club: Hyperbar/Drink: Sauvignon Blanc, Vodka, Red Bull, Sex on the beach, Anything reallya?? as long as someone else is buying/(Smiles)/a??Restaurant: Southeast Asian/Music: Hip-hop, Electro/I also have a bit of a cheesy sidea??(Smile)/a??The song that's stuck in my head: Blue Monday by New Order/$5000 to spend in the next hour: a lot of clothes and a day at the spa."
To their credit, the friends rarely interrupt each other. However, they do go on ad nauseam with variations of "I like, I've seen, I've read, I saw" for more than 30 minutes, dropping names faster than the audience can pick them up.
THREE (Crawford M. Collins): "I like Django Django and The Voidoids and Jimmy Hunt and The Sexareenos and The Zombies and The Undesirables and The Silly Kissers and Claude Debussy and Katie Moore and The Joey Larose Superband and The Ninja Funk Orchestra and Elephantic Psychopaths and You Say Party We Say Die!"
TWO (Christina Toth): "I like silence."
ONE: "I like the sound of the wind in the leaves."
It's a welcome relief when Three interjects, "Hey, we can't do this all night."
The more they share, the more they compare.
FOUR (Charlie Reid): "I have 782 friends."
FIVE (Hamish Allan-Headley): "I have 1266 friends."
ONE: "I have 1745 friends."
THREE: "I have 2982 friends. Ah look at that, one more."
When things local seem lame, they go abroad:
Over and over, the friends diverge and converge, looping back to deconstruct and reconstruct a night they went to a club. What begins as a fight for bragging rights eventually takes a dark turn when their joint confessional breaks down into elements that are relational, mundane, criminal and graphic.
Written by Guillaume Corbeil, directed by Max Hunter, and translated from French by Steven McCarthy, SEE YOU is from The Bridge Production Group, a nonprofit theatre group committed to "dismantling and rebuilding an audience's expectations of theatrical storytelling, disrupting traditional conventions and assumptions about how stories are told, blurring genre and tone, and injecting the familiar with spontaneity and vitality." TBPG's mission is to create theatre that is immediate and resonant with young and diverse audiences.
SEE YOU brings together five young friends who are deeply self-absorbed and majorly selfie-aware. Careening down the information superhighway together, they're bound to suffer some casualties.
SEE YOU plays through September 21. Tickets are available here.
Photos: Callum Adams