Theatre Temoin's Feed: Heading for the heart of the horror
- Gareth K Vile
- 31 July 2018
Director Ailin Conant discusses the company's new production
'Feed has been created in reaction to a moment in time when we were experiencing empathy burnout,' says director Ailin Conant, 'when victim-driven news items were flooding our Facebook feeds and we felt ourselves shutting down to the plight of humans living the various crises of our time.' While Theatre Temoin has always explored profound ideas including post-traumatic stress and bipolar through a distinctive aesthetic, 'using visual theatre to flip the human mind inside-out and show a protagonist's mental journey through the tangible world', Feed confronts the dominant ideology of the contemporary age: capitalism.
'It's about the attention economy,' Conant continues, 'and how our focus as consumers – our engagement, our emotional arousal, and the time we spend with our eyeballs drinking in content – is the greatest commodity on the current market.' Trump and the constantly shifting political landscape may appear, but Feed targets the consumer experience.
'Anything that provokes emotion – humour, scandal, outrage, sensationalism – rises to the top while nuance and deep thinking are pushed out the picture,' Conant adds. 'Fake news and social divisions are a part of that, but they are a tangential by-product of a much darker and more insidious thing.'
Temoin's approach, Conant concludes, is to confront that darkness. 'The attention economy is capitalism unleashed on the human mind; it is addiction, it is manipulation, it is deception, and it's completely devoid of any ethics or monitoring. It's a world in which every human experience is a commodity. Making this play has made us all feel a little bit less sane.'
Pleasance Dome, Sat 4–Mon 27 Aug (not 15), 2pm, £9–£12 (£8–£11). Previews Wed 1–Fri 3 Aug, £7.