What’s On: Real Life @ The Rondo Theatre, Bath
by Abi Hack
Premiering at the Rondo Theatre in Bath this November (15th-18th), Real Life is a coming-of-age comedy, written by Pippa Thornton, that examines the effects of social media and the millennial generation’s fascination with the “celebrities” that have been birthed from this platform.
With the prominence of social media playing such an integral role in our everyday lives, a new generation of celebrity has appeared on our radar. With influencers, bloggers, and vloggers having amassed huge followings and exposure on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, they have been able to make a living from filling our social feeds with their day-to-day lives.
Real Life follows the life of Hannah, a recent graduate and call centre worker who longs for some excitement and adventure. When the reappearance of an old friend shows her how glamorous her life could be, Hannah decides to make a drastic change… but the road to success is not as smooth as she thinks!
“I wanted to look at how we perceive these social-media celebrities: it’s so easy to compare your life to what you see on Facebook or Instagram and think… why isn’t my life like that? But nobody’s life is perfect, and you’d never put the details of your worst day online.” -- Pippa Thornton, playwright.
Presented by Flipside Theatre in association with the Rondo Theatre, Real Life stars three up-and-coming local actors: Charlotte Hobbs, Alexandra Ricou and Bethany Heath.
When 15-18th November 2017
Where The Rondo Theatre
Book your tickets here!
On the Beat were lucky enough to interview Pippa ahead of the production and here is what she had to say about her upcoming production, social media and her new company, Flipside Theatre...
What inspired you to write this play in the first place?
Almost everyone uses social media to some extent, so most of us are familiar with the feeling of jealousy when one of our friends, or even someone we don’t know, posts about their amazing holiday or their new puppy. Even small, everyday things like the cappuccino they just drank or the crispy autumn leaves they walked through on their way to work. There’s even a new word for it: FOMO (fear of missing out). The problem is that we don’t see these moments in context: they might have snapped those leaves and then gone on to have a terrible day at work, or they might have spent half an hour trying to get the right angle to photograph that cappuccino. When we scroll through Facebook or Instagram we can’t help but compare our lives to other people’s, but the bits that we see are only the highlights: we compare our worst bits to their best bits. Social media is such a huge part of most people’s lives but I think we need to be very careful about how we use it, and hopefully Real Life helps to shed a light on that.
Real Life is a coming-of-age play based on Hannah, a recent graduate and call centre worker. In the creation of this character, have you drawn on your own life experiences/been influenced by anyone you know, or is the character completely fictitious?
There is a lot of me in Hannah! I wanted to share my own experience of graduating university, getting a job in a field I was completely uninterested in […] facing a lot of criticism from people you don’t know, being broke and generally feeling like your life will never go anywhere. I think a lot of people go through university thinking that graduation is an amazing thing that will open lots of doors, but that’s not always the reality and post-graduation depression is not something that’s talked about. The good news is that I was able to overcome it, and I wanted to start the conversation so that other people might realise that they’re not the only ones who have those feelings.
What is it about these social-media influencers/vloggers/bloggers that you think has enabled them to become such an integral part of this platform?
Humans love to watch other humans, and bloggers offer a daily slice of their lives to their followers (social media is a lot like theatre in that way!). I know friends who have become addicted to watching Youtube videos of families just going about their day, or who spend hours scrolling through Instagram photos from a people they’ll never know. Companies have realised the power that these people have and the huge numbers that they reach online, so it makes sense that they would harness that to promote their products. This means that blogging is becoming a viable full-time career for a lot of people, and more and more people are starting blogs in the hopes of making it their job.
As an individual considered part of the millennial generation, what are your personal feelings towards social media? Do you view it as a primarily positive or negative platform?
Definitely positive! I had to be really careful when writing Real Life, because I didn’t want to portray social media as this big, evil force. It is a really powerful tool and we do need to be careful with how we use it whether it’s our personal Facebook account or an Instagram page with thousands of followers. It can be used as a tool for social connectivity and change.
Check out Flipside's social media here...
Lastly, can you tell us a little bit about Flipside Theatre and the general ethos of the company?
Flipside Theatre is a brand new theatre company based in Bath and Bristol, and Real Life will be its debut production. It aims to produce thought-provoking theatre that surprises its audiences, whether presenting a new play or an adaptation of an old classic. Each Flipside production will challenge its cast and crew to find new ways of telling stories on stage, and will always provide substantial and meaningful roles for women. Our next production will be in November 2018, so keep your eyes peeled!