Emilie Anna Maillet creates an immersive and theatrical show on the use of the smartphone, mirror 2.0 of the 21st century
The Socratic precept “Know thyself” has been put to the test since the widespread use of mobile telephony. Is the image that we give and that we are sent back to us true, fictitious, virtual? Emilie Anna Maillet questions the use of social networks in adolescence in an immersive transmedia fiction. A journey in two stages: the virtual experience – Crari or Not -, room tracking To Like or Not To Like. The story of a party that goes wrong following a revelation.
The reflective selfie
At the end of her show, Emilie Anna Maillet confided her objective to us: “With the democratization of the mirror, it was in the 18th century that ordinary mortals were able to see themselves fully. We were able to see what we are, see our image, so see what I am, but also the image I give to others. Today we have the selfie. I don’t know what that thing is, I don’t judge it, but it’s the same thing. What is this image that we see of my existence? Is it the same for me? What impact does it have on society? I don’t understand this gesture.” With Crari or Not And To like or not to likeEmilie Anna Maillet questions new social relationships in the light of new technologies.
“Crari or not”: tell me who you are, I’ll tell you who I am
The first part of the performance journey consists of knowing which character in the play we would be closest to. An on-screen questionnaire is submitted by theme, with literary quotations to be ticked according to our affinities. At its end, one of the roles is assigned to you. You are now that character in a virtual reality experience where you are immersed in a high school party with the role you have been identified with. You live from the inside, at 360°, the triggering event of the whole piece to come. We look at you and we talk to you: a strong moment of emotion. To return to the 18th century, a marivaudage takes hold in this scene, in the relationships between the characters, between truth and lies, mask and mirror, reality and virtuality. Themes which will be developed later, and which refer to the plays of the author of Games of love and chance.
Off screen, a web series on instagram presents all the characters in order to get to know them better. Emilie Anna Maillet pushes the exploration of her subject very far, from a participatory angle of the most diversified and relevant. So she doesn’t ask the viewer for her opinion, as is often the case in interactive pieces. But it surprises at every stage of the show, both in substance and in form. The presentation of the characters made in Crari or notwe are invited to a play, on real stages, with real actors and real spectators, in a real theater.
“To Like or not To Like”: mirror, mirror, my beautiful mirror
If the theater is a mirror, according to Jean Renoir, it is therefore the best place to talk about it. Mask and mirror go hand in hand. “Lowering the mask is considered a weakness, but I believe it’s the opposite, it’s a strength. It’s during adolescence that we ask ourselves this kind of question, it’s a survival instinct. Social networks bring us back to our existence and to the existential“, argues Emilie Anna Maillet. We look for each other at 15-16 years old, and high school friends discover each other. A rejected lover reveals a secret that only she knows. Drop the masks, her image falls. Is it true, is it false? Should we lie, change our mask, or be as we are? Who am I for others? What reaction will this revelation provoke?
A beautiful decor distributes three spaces continuously, like three interiors surmounted by a walkway. On the stage: the steps of a building, the way to high school… Anaïs, Marilou, Victor, Gabriel, Safia, Mathis, Solal, and Jules Elie interrogate each other through social networks about what happened during this famous party. The crisis they are going through mirrors that of the entire connected society. Thus, politicians are trapped by revealing their privacy on the networks, or by spreading their decisions under the pretext of transparency at the risk of being manipulated.
A major societal phenomenon of the past ten years, social networks have spawned a new vocabulary: fakenews, pornbashing, trolls, darkweb… which are rampant on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, SMS and other MSN platforms, new vectors of communication. Teenagers are most at risk.
The young actors on stage come from acting schools, and students from local middle and high schools participate as extras. Emilie Anna Maillet’s transmedia design, the animations around the event, as well as the online web series, constitute an innovation in live performance on a high-tension subject. Outstanding.
Crari or not + To Like or not To Like
By Emilie Anna Maillet
Staging: Emilie Anna Maillet assisted by Clarisse Sellier
Artistic collaborator: Marion Suzanne
With: Farid Benchoubane, Jeanne Guittet, Pierrick Grillet, Cécile Leclerc, Roméo Mariani
Tour: March 18 and 19 (Crari or not) and March 19 (To like or not to like) at the Center des Arts d’Enghien-les-Bains, March 30 and 31 (To like or not to like) at Massalia Theater – Friche de la Belle de mai in Marseille, on April 13 and 14 (Crari or not) at the Grand Bleu in Lille on the occasion of the Youth is GREAT Festival, in the fall of 2023 at the CENTQUATRE-Paris during the NEMO Festival