Dazed New World Festival 2020: All by Myself
Forward-thinking and inclusive female-led theatre company Part of The Main unveil their latest production All By Myself as part of Applecart Art’s Dazed New World 2020 festival. The production is directed as a live stream by Jessica Bickel-Barlow, its audience immersed in the solo journey of a young woman balancing the reality of quarantine amid Covid-19 with a digital world. In the absence of any real human contact, the protagonist is connected to the outside world through only her online presence. The show fundamentally asks, “Who are we without other people?”.
Charlie Blandford takes the spotlight, starting with discourse on self-care in isolation for her followers on her popular YouTube channel. We see her pout, teetering on the edge of being banally irritating and exuding the typical, pretentious confidence of social media influencers. Inevitably, on logging off, she is lost and alone. While intermittently unplugged from her social media platforms, she grapples to stay immersed in the digital world by googling to stay occupied and connected, avoiding the silence of her own homebound solitude.
The young woman tasks herself with YouTube tutorials to pass the time (an avocado face pack, creating an aesthetically pleasing room, lighting a bulb using pennies, wire and potatoes); her movements are purposeful, her mood jovial and full of intent. Then she begins to unravel, descending into a kind of caged-animal depression, her confident online presence replaced with maniacal laughter and increasingly erratic movements, tears falling down her face as she hugs photos of friends and family to her chest.
The whole concept of All by Myself makes for uncomfortable, voyeuristic viewing. The silence is deafening and completely claustrophobic, but at the same time there’s a definite relatability as we, too, navigate the restrictions on us as sociable beings in a worldwide pandemic.
Photo: Will Adler
All by Myself is online as part of Dazed New World Festival 2020 from 18th October until 23rd October 2020. For further information or to book visit Applecart Arts’s website here.