Walking into the small theatre in Theatre d’Aujourd’hui, I have no idea what to expect. I walk in curious, I walk out confused. Selfie starts with two women and two men talking about the second wave of hippies, the flower children who preached love and making love to everyone and anyone, not being afraid to show their bodies. That’s the message I vaguely understand. They also talk about boys, girls, penises, vaginas… Their words sound so explicit and leave me confused, shocked, and yet very intrigued. Selfie, written by Sarah Berthiaume and directed by Philippe Cyr, is a real emotional roller coaster.
After they finish talking, to my surprise and without any explanation, Édith Patenaude, Christine Beaulieu, Philippe Cyr and Frédéric Lavallée start taking their clothes off, exposing their nude flesh to the 30-40 audience members who are watching them. The four are shaking and it takes me a few minutes to understand that they are trying to mimic an orgasm. I sink in my chair feeling extremely confused and uncomfortable, not understanding what all of this is really about. After a few minutes they stop. Following this, the young performers talk to the audience, tell stories, and show short videos.
The more this installation performance progresses, the more confused I feel. It takes me a few minutes of reflection to put my finger on what the subject of the show really is: the selfie, a new way of auto-representation. The selfie is more than just taking a picture of yourself. It is also showing it to others to get their approval. This self-obsession that all human beings have came way before the iPhone.
Through telling stories about mermaids, naked actresses, clones, and operations everything goes back to the ways that humans like being looked at. It is about this narcissism we all have inside of us. Taking pictures of ourselves and showing flesh are ways to make sure other people notice us. It’s all a big part of our society and it always has been in one way or another.
That said, I felt very shaken and overwhelmed by the amount of information that was thrown at me all at once. The show made me question the society we live in and humanity in general. It was sincerely the most original, unique and creative show I have ever seen. I think it is fair for me to say that I was not the only one captured by Philippe Cyr’s masterpiece. The audience’s silence speaks for itself. It was the positive type of silence, the type you feel when something is too amazing for words. Everyone was captured for the entire duration of the show by the four performers and the artistic, brilliant way everything was done.
After the 75 minute show ended, I honestly left the room very satisfied with what I experienced. Of course, some things shook me, but that’s the beauty of this art. If nudity does not make you uncomfortable and you like trying new things, Selfie is the place to be.
Selfie is at Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui from April 28 to May 16. Click HERE for tickets