Review of User Not Found
This week I attended the performance of User Not found By Dante or Die. The show premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and is coming to the end of a tour round the UK. We were offered tickets after visiting another exhibition and wow it really did not disappoint! We were informed that the show was going to be around the basis of your social media and what happens to it when you die. Do you keep or delete? I really didn’t know what to expect.
We arrived and it was a very intimate performance only maybe 20 people in the cafe of the Attenborough Arts Centre in Leicester, tables of four set up, with a lamp on and a headset for everyone, it was very intriguing. I had no idea what was going to happen, the lights dimmed, we were all given a mobile phone and put our headphones on.
You start to hear a voice in the headset and you frantically look around to see if everyone else is hearing the same thing you are. Slowly on a table across the cafe someone is drawing attention to themselves, standing up and talking to everyone, this is the voice you can hear. A wave of panic hit me, I thought they were here to watch too, do I have something to say? Are we all involved in this performance without knowing?
The show was based around an article in the Guardian from Caroline Twigg, questioning what should happen to her husbands digital legacy after his death, Dante or Die describe her writing as ‘a moving depiction of grief magnified through the screen-life of the man she lost in reality’ and they new they wanted to make a performance from it.
You were taken on a rollercoaster of emotions, through past and present memories by the performer Terry O’Donovan, I felt like he was really suited for this performance. There was so much interaction, moving around the space and even at one point he was sat on the table with me, it made everything feel so real. While all of this was going on in your secluded little bubble with the headphones, you were accompanied by visuals on the phone which also made you feel a part of this persons journey, you were viewing their social media, in phone calls with their family and videos and sounds representing the emotions felt.
Dante or Die described the the show as ‘Poignant, emotional and funny, USER NOT FOUND gently interrogates our need for connection and explores the new afterlife created by the digital world in which we all live.
I left the performance feeling very reflective about what I would do and still have not made up my mind on whether I would keep or delete. I would recommend anyone to go and see this if they tour it again, I had never been to anything like this and has also encouraged me to engage more with what is out there to see.