Set in a dystopian world where a life worth living is only available online, we are introduced to X, a lonely and isolated influencer who has had his access and posting rights revoked. Social Distancing perfectly captures the toxicity of how reliant we as a society are on social media today and leads audiences to question whether this dystopian society X lives in is really that indifferent to ours today, his representation is simply perhaps more dramatized.
Through X, we can see how much the approval from others can drain us of our true personality and opinions as he discusses how people often promote political opinions or beliefs for likes and shares as oppose to making a change in the world, a topic which I believe is very prevalent currently due to lockdown causing communities to become even more heavily reliant on their phones. Papaioannou satirises how much of an impact the media has on our entire identity – making us prioritise looks over intelligence and causing us to agree with celebrities and be up to date with all of the latest trends whether we like them or not.
The bleak theme of self-hate is also one with is very prominent within this soliloquy and one that I feel audience members can unfortunately relate to. Papaioannou touches on topics such as photoshop, the desperate need for likes and positive public comments and the fear of the newfound ‘cancel culture’. The clever play on words of Social Distancing holds so much power as whilst we are witnessing a medical pandemic, the future of social media could cause a more severe emotional pandemic.
In terms of the acting, Papaioannou is incredible! From the moment I walked into the theatre he was in character as X, organising the boxes which represented his social media archives and chatting away to himself. I felt as if I got completely lost within his almost poetic dialogue and was truly feeling all the emotions that he was experiencing throughout his character arc. I really hope more people go and appreciate this show as its deserving of so much recognition and holds such a strong moral message. The use of multimedia such as voiceovers of newsreels by Sara Svati also complemented the power of the piece brillianly! Everything was just so well put together – definitely one to book tickets for.
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