When discussing Youtube culture, famous Youtubers and Vlogging, you’ll often find whomever you’re talking to will either turn up their nose at the drama or eagerly await opinions on the latest discussion points. As Claire Gaydon’s See-Through informs its audience, 34% of young people voted Youtuber as their top career choice. Immediately, the room divides into centennials, millennials, and those over the age of 36. In this documentary drama, Gaydon hopes to cross this generational divide to explore the attraction of internet fame/infamy as she creates her own account in pursuit of stardom.
The performance consists mostly of Gaydon sitting at a table with her back to the audience, typing away at her laptop and filming videos, all of which is projected onto a screen in front of her. The show blends fact and fiction seamlessly. Even though a quick search of her name on the video platform only brings up the show’s trailer, the conviction she inspires in the audience reinforces the themes of ambition and validation. The show works well not to alienating its older audience nor patronising those in the audience who enjoy the forum. The personas, the overenthusiasm, and the false sense of individuality are disparaged, but it is admirably well researched and more complex than a one-sided parody.
As well as being intelligent it is also entertaining, largely down to the personality that Gaydon adopts. Keeping her own name, she presents us with someone who is clearly desperate to be liked. The audience sees her working with branding experts in character, smile fixed in place, and cringe at her attempts at banter and the accuracy of the imitation. The irony of her so brilliantly playing a character in search of a character is lost on no-one. Purely through her performance (as well as her wordless Google searches that illustrate the lengths she will go to for acceptance), she considers the idea of a new generation that value optimism, openness and likability over authenticity.
There are times when it is obvious that what the audience are seeing is fictional, and the dramatic ending is perhaps more sentimental than necessary, but that is a minor side-track in a clever and personal documentary-parody-drama that know how to show and not tell.