Vlogger is a one-hour play that premiered in Galway by local theatre company Eva’s Echo, a small company that promotes new plays.
Directed by Hazel Doolan, Vlogger is a play which incorporates a live vlog on stage which highlights the life of Mia (Rena Bryson), a committed vlogger, and her girlfriend Sandra (Leona de Búrca). Mia is facing a family crisis and instead of turning to Sandra, she finds comfort through the anonymous support of her online followers.
This constant reassurance she needs from the online community turns into an obsession. She creates this online alter ego who documents every aspect of her day while editing it to make it seem perfect. The complete contrast to Mia’s normal life to her “perfect” online life is used as a thread of humor throughout this play, yet this slowly dwindles when the audience becomes aware of how destructive social media can be. Mia and Sandra’s relationship suffers because Mia emotionally manipulates Sandra to be part of the vlogs while allowing social media to manipulate her own time.
Vlogger is a new play which embraces queer theatre with the normalcy of a lesbian relationship on stage that has its ups and downs. Technology is threaded through the storyline, but its presence is physically onstage and we see the increasing numbers of followers Mia gains as she shares more of her life. We are also privy to see, through a projector, Mia’s life as if we are an online follower. The progression of technology is something we should celebrate but also be conscious of to not allow it to control our lives. I say this, writing this review on a laptop with my phone within arm’s reach and I know I can be so guilty of documenting my life through social media. However, Vlogger highlighted the importance of other people’s privacy, Mia sharing information without permission is something I wish could have been highlighted more, especially when it involves sexual consent.
With an uneasy audience and a few technology malfunctions, I can only applaud Bryson and Búrca for not missing one beat in their performance. The play did seem to end abruptly and while I longed for another scene I know not it’s fitting considering the abruptness of a social media account can be disabled.
Review by Grace Byrne