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Lancaster premieres new show from the dark heart of the internet

Author: 
Chris Satori

The premiere of Lancaster theatre-maker Aliki Chapple’s new show '666 Comments' could not be more timely. In the aftermath of the #MeToo movement, 666 Comments is a vital and thrilling contribution to the ongoing conversation. The show will have its national premiere at the Storey on Saturday 10 March at 7.30pm.

The show takes a brilliant and unusual form: the staging of an online comment thread. In October 2010 cartoonist Gabby Shulz posted a comic strip about sexism on his website. Over the next three days, the comic went viral and the comments went bananas. Some of them were witty, some of them were outrageous, some of them were just plain bizarre.

666 Comments is an attempt to stage that online discussion. Two performers, 57 characters, 666 comments. One night only. Hilarious, provocative and occasionally plain terrifying, 666 Comments brings the virtual world into astonishingly vivid reality.

This timely performance was first imagined by Lancaster-based performer Aliki Chapple, who said of the project “People tend to act as if what happens online isn’t real. But how we treat each other on the Internet is, well, how we treat each other. And the links between misogyny and physical violence are clearer every day. Young men are getting radicalised by discussions like this. Although a lot of it is just eye-wateringly, hilariously stupid, that doesn’t stop it from doing damage. That’s really what the show’s about.”

Lancaster's Hear Me Roar feminist festival and Making Room are supporting this premiere, before the show goes on tour with a brilliant mixed-gender team on board; Irene Soldatos has created a script entirely out of those 666 comments, Daniel Bye is directing, and Ben Rigby and Aliki are ready to play dozens of commenters apiece.

A spokesperson for Hear Me Roar said: “It is important to us to present public events which deal with sensitive political issues in a way that is playful and engaging, we could not think of a better team to bring the concept of 666 Comments to life”

Thanks to a grant from Arts Council England, and the support of 52 (and rising!) crowdfunding backers (join them at www.gofundme.com/666Comments), lead artist Aliki Chapple was able to bring the project to full production. Newly Lancastrian and critically acclaimed theatre director Daniel Bye said: “having just moved to Lancaster last year, it’s fantastic to straight away get involved in such a brilliant and important project. It’s such a terrific idea I can’t believe no-one’s had it before. And the thread itself is just incredible. I can’t wait to see people’s reactions.” 

Hear Me Roar, Making Room and Aliki Chapple present '666 Comments' in the Storey Auditorium on Saturday 10 March at 7.30pm. Tickets are £10 and you can book them online here at eventbrite. 

 

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