Exploring the black hole of Youtube
By Myron My
Every day, people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views on videos. In Meme Girls, Ash Flanders has delved into the bottomless pit of YouTube vloggers and their videos, performing a selection of monologues in the dramatic camp fashion that Flanders does so well.
There are a variety of videos that Flanders has chosen, from the serious to the absurd, such as the woman who tells you that one of the hardest things in life is learning how to fold a fitted sheet. Flanders nails each “character” he performs. The way he speaks, sounds, acts and moves; each person is unique.
Accompanying Flanders is the wonderful Art Simone. Simone has a presence to her that is instantly captivating and draws all our attention when she is on stage. I would have loved to have seen her more and do more, but the little time she has she effectively blurs gender lines and identity; the same transformation that Flanders goes through during Meme Girls.
However, I’m not completely sold on the idea that the show has, as director Stephen Nicolazzo puts it, “genuine love of the genders, races and class (Flanders) represents on stage”. Some, most definitely, but others feel like they are being parodied and played for laughs and therefore lack the honesty or sincerity that I expected to see. Perhaps this is Flanders’ intention though and is commenting on the type of culture and lifestyle that we, as a society, seem to be obsessed with.
From a stagecraft perspective, this show cannot be faulted. How I would love to get inside Eugyeene Teh’s thought process and see how he consistently creates these brilliant sets and costume designs. His pink cylindrical tunnel, as if we are falling into the black hole that is YouTube, is absolutely stunning, especially when paired with Katie Sfetkidis’ lighting design. Along with THE SWEATS’ sound design; I have not been, in a very long time, so in awe, of the opening moments of a show as much as I have for Meme Girls.
Meme Girls is a wonderful showcase of talent from Nicolazzo, Flanders and the creative team behind it. Whilst the message it tries to make is not always clear or consistent, it is, as Simone mimes at one point during the show, “an unusual and exciting theatrical event“.
Venue: Malthouse Theatre, 113 Sturt St, Southbank
Season: Until 2 May | Wed – Sat 8pm, Tuesday 7pm, Saturday 2pm, Sunday 5pm
Tickets: $60 Full | $50 Conc | $30 Under 30
Bookings: Malthouse Theatre