Velvet is a one-man play which offers a raw and destabilising insight into the complexities of sexual harassment in the digital age of the acting industry.
Both written and performed by Tom Ratcliffe, Velvet tells the story of a young, aspiring actor struggling to orient himself around his sometimes conflicting ambition and moral compass.
Standing upright in centre stage and looking straight ahead for the majority of the production, Ratcliffe switches between a number of different characters with grace, each identifiable by the skilful ease with which he changes his expression, voice and posture.
What first begins as a tentatively humorous tale of Tom’s acting career, slowly transforms into a visceral, jarring account of coercive control. This production offers a new perspective on the LGBT+ aspect of the #MeToo movement, using an overhead screen and a robotic, disembodied voiceover to document the Grindr and WhatsApp conversations between an aspiring artist and a ‘casting director’, highlighting the dangers of online anonymity.
An ode to the velvet cover of a casting couch, Velvet shifts between and the personal and professional, the online and the offline to highlight both their differences and convergences, particularly the effects of outside-abuse on personal relationships and the link between sex and power.
Refreshingly humble, this play also travels far beyond the dark side of the acting industry, alluding to the banality of everyday life, from forced conversations with old home-town friends to back-handed compliments from an anxious mother to the agonising wait for the coveted blue tick on WhatsApp from an ex-partner.
Velvet reinterprets the #MeToo movement through a fragmented Black Mirror-esque lens, it is running from 13 – 18 May in the Samuel Beckett Theatre in Trinity College as part of the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival. Tickets for Velvet are priced from €13 and can be bought at the door or on their website.
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