Cy*bent*ity has the scope to be really, very scary. If you 'friend' its central character, Polly Wolly, on facebook, and then see the show, you have no idea what she could dig up. And there's none of that theatre safety net, either. You can't claim sanctuary just because you bought a ticket, and are sitting in the audience. The Lady Gaga-obsessed, spandex-wearing, borderline psychopath will make you think long and hard about the strength of your privacy settings.
Brainchild of Melbourne-based performance artist, Renae Shadler, Polly Wolly is used as a vehicle to explore the clash between one's real-world and online identities. When one of these falls apart for Polly, what hope is left?
Shadler is a firecracker presence onstage. Cy*bent*ity is performed in an intimate, lounge room setting, so any holes in her adopted character could be easily found. But it remains authentic, the show often seeming entirely unscripted. You really feel like you're at an awkward 16 year-old's house party. And that's a good thing. Shadler improvises easily and engagingly, creating a highly unique performance environment.
The technical aspects of the show are a strong point. Polly liaises with 'Bek the Tech' (Bek Berger) closely. Bek sits behind a Macbook, controlling what is projected onto the wall – whether it be a live twitter-feed, facebook profile, youtube clip. The smoothness of this aspect of the show means that there is plenty of opportunity for Shadler to free-wheel and tailor each performance to its specific audience. Despite the concept already being a challenging one, I thought that she could have pushed the boundaries further and made Polly even more outrageous. Shadler has the sensitivity for this to happen tactfully, and I think it would make Polly's change-of-fortunes particularly heart-wrenching.
This is not your conventional theatre show. It's interactive at an online and real-life level. But Shadler's nuanced performance, and the exciting potential for the show to become what you want it to be, make Cy*bent*ity worth the click ... (get it?).
2012 Adelaide Fringe Festival
Directed by Mark Wilson
Venue: Kilpatrick Architecture | 24 Divett Pl, Adelaide
Dates: March 7 – 16, 2012
Tickets: $18.00 – $13.00