Ain’t No Female Romeo, created and performed by Lita Doolan, is a surreal and disconcerting story of social media, the relationships they create and how reliant people can become on both posting and consuming content on it, and, more importantly, receiving responses, particularly “likes”.
Combining snippets of poetry, selfie videos, images, quotes and hashtags, the piece exposes social technology, as Doolan travels the world looking for Peter, someone she knows through Instagram, but how well is never made clear. It’s possible that she and Peter have exchanged messages and comments, but the more disturbing possibility is that their only interaction has been liking each other’s posts.
The images, quotes and hashtags which flash up on screen from time to time are often very quick, creating the sense of social media moving on very quickly. Some snippets of video also cut out, illustrating the fact that these videos, for example on stories, often expire and disappear from the platform forever.
Hearts on some of the posts flashing up symbolise the all important likes, and the increasingly desperate facial expression of Doolan shows the effect the absence of these likes can have. Some of the quotes are taken from Shakespeare, a nod to the references to Romeo and the tragic tale of star-crossed lovers.
Doolan veers between regretful to hopeful, depressed to ecstatic at alarming rates. Her view of the city she has travelled for in search of Peter shows idyllic parks filled with autumnal leaves and graffitied, dilapidated buildings.
At times very surreal, the piece travels through the darker elements of online relationships as it becomes clear that Doolan is very much alone in the world and is running out of money to maintain her travels.
A commentary on the lack of reality found on social media and a need to live in the real world, this show is a desperate plea to not live life on a screen or to pin all of your hopes and dreams onto what appears on someone else’s, no matter how much they have influenced you.
Ain’t No Female Romeo is being streamed until 22nd February 2021. Tickets are available here https://live-stream.zarucchi.com/events/ain-t-no-female-romeo/feed
Reviewer: Donna M Day
Reviewed: 6th February 2021
North West End UK Rating: ★★★