REVIEW: No One Cares About Your Cat
Performed at the Playhouse, No One Cares About Your Cat presents the views people have on social media and how this affects their surroundings. As the audience waits in the lobby James Chapman, one of the actors in the play, walks around filming a monologue on his phone, asking the audience questions and getting everyone to dance. Inside the backdrop to the stage is a projection showing images of cats and social media posts. The five actors are all seated on white blocks playing with their phones, surrounded by various colours of yarn balls.
The lights dim and the music starts; its moody and experimental, sounding like something you would hear at a warehouse party. The five actors take turns in standing up and, using the light on their phones, showing the audience where they stand on the UCLA Loneliness Scale. They all stand in different areas of the room with their arms up, the light on their phone glowing in the dark, giving the first impression of what their characters may be like.
Each character has a different take on social media; Jemima Webber uses social media to connect with others though her cat, Spot, with “Ask Spot” segments. James Chapman is a social media enthusiast whereas Jocelyn Lamarche (who was replaced by Tamara Gizzard due to illness) has cancelled all of her social media accounts, preferring real time interaction. Sam De Lyall often feels left out and alone with not enough social media interaction in contrast to Zoe Anderson who enjoys social media use and feels surrounded by people. The play relies heavily on audio and visual cues which match up with what the actors are talking about using images from Facebook and the Internet.
The script is well written, balancing positive and negative ideas of social media. Social Media 101 takes the audience through rules of the Internet, like “don’t post more than two times a day” and finding the best angle for your selfies. James uses video as a means to voice his opinions. Zoe uses Facebook to find her lost cat and the visual projections to show which news items she doesn’t want showing in her feed. The yarn balls are used to show how Tamara feels pressured to rejoin social media. Jemima explores the impact that social media can have when you lose someone close to you and the inability to escape it. Sam puts a cat mask on, representing hiding his true self online. All five actors dance to Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson, showing the positive side of selfies and modern day vanity, which is replaced by eerie electronic music as the five dissect their facial features. The video filmed in the lobby is played for the audience, which was edited during the performance. James then films another live segment and asks the audience to join the cast in using their cell phones to represent how they feel on the UCLA Loneliness Scale.
No One Cares About Your Cat presents balanced and interesting views on social media. The multimedia used highlights or reliance on technology and how easy it is to use in this day and age, perfectly fitting the performance. The actors, Zoe, James, Sam, Jemima and Tamara, were able to present their views with laughter, irony and questioning views while being brutally honest and open. It is a highly personal play; all the ideas explored have some relevance to the actor. For instance, James is a comedian who runs a YouTube channel, Tamara’s cat was found via Facebook and Jocelyne has actually cancelled her Facebook account.
Maybe it will prompt you to rethink your online presence, or perhaps influence you to take notice of your peers, regardless it’s hard to not feel influenced by the performance with the open feelings portrayed by the actors through their script and performance. There’s so much to No One Cares About Your Cat, more than can be expressed in words, with the mix of audio, visual and interactivity – it’s a bold move but it definitely pays off.
Reviewed by Jodie Millard for Culture Hunter.
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