Without its main character saying a word aloud, beep boop speaks volumes to how we have become a slave to our handheld devices. The show pairs excellent classic clowning with superb sound effects, to tell the story of one man’s struggle against the power of the technology, the ease of communication, and the inherent need to develop a robust online persona.
Richard Saudek’s physical clowning talent is evident early on, as he emerges in a simulated live birth with a phone in his hand. Immediately you notice his posture, which is hunched over and focused only on the world contained in the device. As the outside surroundings are forgotten, he grows deeper and deeper into a virtual world, always focused on responding to any beep coming from his hand.
Saudek continues through his daily routine and introduces more technological possessions such as a laptop, tablet, and smartwatch. Each of these requires all the more attention and draws him further away from the real world. The interaction with these devices allows Saudek to showcase his physical comedy through his facial expressions, voice work, and general movement. The physical comedy is perfectly matched by the sound effects controlled by an observer sitting in the corner with an impressive sound deck. This observer plays a minor, but very funny role in the show and interacts well with Saudek when asked. In addition to the excellent acting and sound work, the show utilises technology to help blur the lines between reality and an online persona.
Whether it’s cooking for ‘the ‘Gram’, watching listicles on YouTube, or swiping through your preferred online dating app, beep boop covers everyone’s favourite way to waste hours online. This simple, but brilliant story provides a strong familiarity to our day-to-day lives and reliance on joy and self-esteem from technology and online personas. Even the most technophobic viewer should find something from this show to resonate with them, and perhaps cause them to put down the device and soak up the real world.