by Christopher Bryant // commissioned by Yvonne Virsik
developed through Great Plains Theatre Conference 2018 (dir. Colleen O’Doherty) & Small and Loud Winter 2017
“DO PEOPLE WHO COMPLAIN ABOUT THE PERFORMATIVE NATURE OF SOCIAL MEDIA NOT REALISE HOW PERFORMATIVE REALITY IS?”
Disinhibition explores the gulf between our online profiles and our everyday lives; a world where social disconnection, technological anxiety and the disinhibition effect (the abandonment of social norms through a life led online) have taken us full-throttle. The play follows three personalities: a young man named George, a young woman named Flick, and Tay, an online bot created by Microsoft who ‘learns’ by ‘meeting’ people online. George fantasizes about leading a normal life – he’s got countless followers watching his every move. Flick’s FODMAP cooking website has similarly sent her to instant fame… except that she doesn’t cook the food herself; instead taking the meals away from restaurants to later photograph and claim as her own. And Tay slowly begins to gain human traits from her interactions with strangers – humour, desire, love… and racism. As the three protagonists make their way towards an inevitable crash of Internet popularity, they’re told they can do and be anything they want… but as they do, they’re promptly torn apart for doing what’s deemed to be the ‘wrong’ thing.
In 2018, we’ve never been more connected, and we’ve also never been more alone. What happens when you accrue a following of 30,000 fans before you’ve even finished high school? Moreover, how far would you go to make them leave you alone?
by Christopher Bryant // in collaboration with Emma Palackic
“A sociopolitical wing of the LGBT community, characterised by affluent, white, cis-normative, gay men who view all other LGBT groups as inferior and a political liability. Characterized by their disdain for trans* people, lesbians, and LGBT people of color, and a persistent belief that marriage equality is the only legal issue facing the LGBT community, while unemployment, discrimination, and disease all go ignored.” – Urban Dictionary definition of “Gaytriarchy”
Travis Smith, the prodigal son-cum-theatremaker, has returned from the big smoke to his childhood home in Daylesford. He’s ready and rearing to finally lay challenge to his father’s rule after the untimely death of his mother, infamous media mogul Sheila B. White (the single female presence in his world and in this play). As members of the community flock in from around the country to pay their last respects and vie for a piece of the vast and White inheritance, Travis will confront his destiny, the expectation of the gay male sub-groups, and the hidden family secret that lurks in the basement of his parents’ mansion: a secret that could tear the family apart.
The scorpion twist to this hauntingly familiar narrative is that all characters are played by female POC actors. The Gaytiarch subverts theatre clichés by putting an over-represented masculine and Aryan storyline into the bodies of those underrepresented on our stages and in our communities. Those within Melbourne’s often gaytriarchal theatre community aren’t using their own privilege to lift up those who need it: by flipping the script, new light is shed on not-so-petty grievances.