This interactive production will challenge your understanding of the world

It may only be 15 minutes long but Charlie is an art performance that is intriguing, thought-provoking and timely.

Singaporean artist Victoria Chen plays Charlie, a 12-year-old who has been brought up to believe that there is danger beyond her room, and that the world has made a sacrifice for her to remain safe in isolation. Sounds familiar, doesn’it?

But this is not your typical show where you kick back and spend the evening chilling out. This is an interactive one-on-one experience, which means for 15 minutes, Charlie is talking directly to you, asking questions as any child would about the world and beyond. It goes without saying that it requires a high level of audience participation.
 


 

Before lockdowns and circuit breakers, the performance required the audience member to leave his or her belongings at the door with an usher and enter a sterile bedroom where Charlie resides.

Now you get onto Zoom. Turns out, you’re the first person she has ever encountered from the outside world. As the clock ticks by, your words are the only thing she has to hang on to. Every session is different, as it depends on your conversation with her.

According to Chen, the production hopes to challenge the audience’s understanding of the world they live in through gentle introspection. It is particularly apt when the pandemic and increasing influence of social media ironically isolates us despite our interconnectedness. In short, by interacting with Charlie, you are given the responsibility of shaping a girl’s idea of the world through your words.

Presented by Bhumi Collective, the production won Chen the Best Performing Artist award at the 2017 Edinburgh Student Arts Festival. It now makes its online debut from Nov 12 to 28 as part of the “Pants Off” component of the Melbourne Fringe, which is a space for digital projects. Tickets can be purchased from the Fringe website at A$15.


More information available here.