Souvenir by Any One Thing
If you choose to be present online, you can be seen and even manipulated. This is the clear message imparted by the incredibly thought-provoking immersive theatre experience Souvenir, by production company Any One Thing. Set in a luxurious modern penthouse in London, the piece intimately involves audience members in the lives of three characters: Richard, Margot and Anna.
Immersive theatre experiences are difficult to pull off; audience size is key, location is key, and of course, the story line must be engaging and interactive enough to sustain itself. Souvenir masters all of this, managing to maintain interest and control of the audience throughout.
The audience is made up of about 10 guests, all getting to know one another in the small but lavish apartment. Audience members are encouraged to mingle, being introduced to one another and offered a drink upon entry; the scenario is Anna’s surprise birthday party, after all.
The modernity of the set is key to this piece; it is equipped with an Alexa, built-in speakers in the ceiling and walls, a projector, and mood lighting which changes to fit the atmosphere at different times. These clues allow the audience to understand the period the play is set in – social media and the use of technology are a normality.
Only when positioned in an intimate setting such as this does one understand the vulnerable position we put ourselves in through social media. Souvenir, through choosing this unique style of theatre, is able to work outside the boundaries of a standard play; the audience are researched and their information is used within the performance, creating a real and highly effective shock that you would not have if you were passively watching a naturalistic play.
The show is incredibly provocative and has the profound effect of really making anyone think twice about what is posted online and what one allows to be public knowledge. The acting elevates the performance to the next level: Richard, Margot and Anna successfully draw the audience into their world. You feel Anna’s angst and empathise with Richard and Margot, but are equally shocked when the plot thickens.
This astounding piece makes you realise that the internet is stained in ink, not in pencil. What you post cannot be erased.
Souvenir by Any One Thing is at various secret locations around London from 1st November until 30th November 2019. For further information or to book visit the company’s website here.