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SHAME ON YOU


Shame on You 
is a performance with endless scrolling and the generation of content, avatars, emojis, trap, stand-up, music videos and stories that searches for a space without shame at the intersection of the virtual, fairy tale and the present.

By experimenting with the formats and language of social media, deeply rooted feelings of shame, the pervasive shaming and shamelessness of others areaddressed. Using original material from a young creative team, the project explores when and how shame arises, the ways in which it is reproduced and whether we can overcome it at all.

BEFORE THE PERFORMANCE

  • Try to define the concept of shame.

  • What do you think people are most ashamed of?

  • Who can you talk to about shame? Do you talk about shame at all?

Most of our feelings can be traced back to reactions to certain situations or events, which can be pleasant or unpleasant. When these situations or events pass, the feelings associated with them usually disappear. Emotions are generally fleeting. Shame is different. Shame is characterised by a constant awareness of our perceived faults. Therefore, we can quickly fall into the trap of shame-based thinking. This can lead us to focus more on our few perceived failures than on our many successes. Our thoughts can become filled with regrets, judgements and predictions about future failures. People who are overwhelmed by feelings of shame (which are usually accompanied by feelings of guilt) are at higher risk of depression, anxiety and a range of other mental health problems. It is generally accepted that most people who have feelings of shame are not at increased risk for violent behaviour or aggression.

  • Talk about feelings of shame and think about how and in what ways the artists will address them in the performance.

  • It is usually difficult to talk about issues that cause feelings of shame. Why do you think this is?

  • SHAME MUSEUM: Create a small installation, painting or other form of visual art on the theme of shame (e.g. a bin from your bedroom...). It should be based on your feelings of shame. Do not describe or explain the piece itself. Instead, organise a joint exhibition where you look at each other's museums.


In one of her articles for the portal e-Psihologija, the Slovenian psychologist Sabina Prah writes:

"Shame is one of the most unbearable emotions, which can have a toxic effect on the body if exposed to it for a long time, as it reduces the ability to self-soothe. Shame triggers a hormone called adrenaline that makes the body extremely aroused and can also be addictive. Some people therefore unconsciously seek out situations and people in and around who make them feel ashamed or otherwise embarrassed. Shame often transfers to other people - if the person cannot feel it themselves, it can be felt all the more by those around them. Shame is an emotion that underlies socialisation. In the second year of a child's life, as they explore the world around them with increasing motor skills, it is the feeling of shame that can stop them in their tracks. Because shame so physically overwhelms the child, it paralyses him in an instant and teaches him what behaviour is acceptable and what is not. Shame thus has the function of following the social norms of a particular society. If a child is frequently criticised and punished while growing up, which triggers feelings of shame, he or she receives the message that he or she is inadequate, that he or she is unworthy. He or she develops the belief that he or she is not okay, that he or she is different, which leads to the development of a poor self-image, perfectionism, a tendency to please others and frequent feelings of guilt. Because shame is so difficult to deal with physically, because it touches the core of our existence - our worth - it is so difficult to experience and we tend to cover it up. Most of the time we hide it behind anger. So the first step in working with shame is precisely to deconstruct anger. This is often followed by fear, sadness, helplessness, and only at the core of our vulnerability do we encounter shame. We can usually only talk about it in an extremely safe and confidential relationship, for example with a partner or a therapist." (Source)


One of the greatest fears we face when we are ashamed is the stares of others or the public exposure of a "shameful" act. This fear has intensified with the rise of social media. But public shaming is not a new concept. Public humiliation and punishment are universal human behaviours that have always existed in society. But with the advent of the internet and the use of social media for shaming, this bad behaviour has taken on a whole new dimension. With online shaming, people engage in social shaming on a much larger scale and in a more organised way, and the public punishment has greater consequences for those involved than ever before.

  • Why do you think public shaming is so prevalent in online networks?
  • Do you think the apparent anonymity of the phenomenon contributes to its prevalence?
  • How do you think it changes our image when we show it on websites?

Here you can read an article by author and researcher Blair Glaser in which she raises questions about the feeling of control through online shaming.

  • Give some contemporary examples of public or online shaming.
  • Are you familiar with the term "cancel culture"? What do you think of this phenomenon? Give some examples.
  • Do you think online shaming is as widespread in your country as in other countries?
THEATRE LABORATORY LPT


The Theatre Laboratory of the Ljubljana Puppet Theatre is a project that introduces young people to the world of theatre production. Every year, young talented artists are selected through auditions and spend several months working on a new theatre production under the guidance of an experienced director and experts. The Lab has produced four plays so far: Brainstorm (2018), The Right to be Human (2019), The Yellow Moon (2020) and Everything is Alright (2021).

The process of producing Shame on Youbegan with a months-long workshop with teenagers in collaboration with the Dschungel Wien in Vienna. During the workshops, the creative team worked with the teenagers to conceptualise the essence of the theme of shame, which then fed into the second, conceptual part of the creative process, in which the extended team developed an intermedia performance.

POST-PERFORMANCE DISCUSSION


  • What land of shame did you enter? Briefly describe what you saw.
  • Did you like the play? Why (not)?
  • What moment in the production did you remember most? And why?
  • Could you identify with any of the scenes in the production? Were there any scenes that were particularly strange to you?
  • Why do you think the production team decided to divide the production into three rooms?
  • What types of shame were addressed in the production?
  • Describe the issues addressed in the final online section of the production.
  • How would you describe the way in which the creative team addressed the issue of shame?
  • The production is described as an "intermedia performance". Why?
  • How would you describe the planet Maxybow42? Who lives on it? Why do you think the story of this planet is included in the performance?

SUPERPOWERS


At the beginning of the show, the production team asked you to choose one superpower you would have if you could. The answer to this question then determined which land of shame you would visit.

  • Why do you think this particular question was chosen for the room assignment?
  • Which three superpowers did you have to choose from? And why?
  • Discuss your choice and the rooms you saw the show in? Is there a connection between the answer and the content of the show? In what way?

It is in the nature of humans (and other intelligent animals) to have imagination. This means that we imagine a desired goal and then create a fantasy in which we achieve it. For example, when a rabbit sees celery, it imagines that it will eat it, and this allows it to develop a strategy, such as jumping across a field to reach the celery, its goal. Humans want to achieve things for themselves and their loved ones, and as social animals they also want the admiration of their peers. Among the ways we can achieve these desirable outcomes are traits that make us better at our jobs - including skills like greater strength, tougher skin, etc. Some of these skills can be acquired to some degree. We can become better archers by training, better fighters by training and strengthening our muscles.

Other abilities cannot be achieved in a simple way, but they can be imagined. For example, when we see a bird fly, we can imagine that we can fly and what we would do if we could - fly from place to place, impress our friends, etc. These desired abilities become the object of our fantasies. In our fantasies we imagine that we have the means to achieve our desired goals - admiration, wealth, victory, partners. They are often unrealistic or exaggerated, but they all have the same purpose - to motivate us to achieve a goal.

  • What goal (if any) are the stories in this play trying to achieve?
  • What superpower, fantasy or virtue would you say each of the actors is trying to achieve?
  • And what about you?
  • Think about what the three superpowers mentioned in the opening app stand for: physical strength, mental strength, transformative strength.

SHAME AS AN UMBRELLA TOPIC


Shame as a theme of performance is difficult to isolate or present in such a way that it exists on its own. Shame is always connected to other personal and social situations with which it is linked. To say that shame is the central theme of the production would therefore be an understatement. The shame portrayed by the artists is linked to the environment in which they grew up and live.

  • Can you name the themes or situations with which the creators have connected the theme of shame?
  • Which of these themes do you find most present?
  • Is there a different situation in each room that triggers a feeling of shame?
  • If you were to create a similar production yourself, which themes would you highlight?

Feelings of shame often also lead to feelings of guilt, the need to shame and punish oneself. One of the most important guilt factors that society instils in young people is guilt about their sexuality and sexual orientation.
Read a column on sexual orientation guilt published on the I am expat online platform here.

  • What feelings of shame do you think are most prevalent in society at the moment?
  • Do you feel that feelings of shame differ between generations?


Read two texts by Nina Koritnik and Sofija Lavrač Črnivec, participants in the LGL Theatre Lab.

We all feel shame, that is a fact. And this shame is a feeling that has nothing to do with us... that is also a fact. When I was given the task of writing something about shame in my youth, a million questions popped into my head, such as: Why does shame exist, does it even make sense? Well, I can tell you that I have no idea myself, but all I know is that it can be very limiting and practically traps us in the frame we draw for ourselves in our own little minds. Shame is a great fear of our surroundings and of the opinions of other people who are most likely not interested in our lives at all. We feel guilty and would prefer to hide under a rock and never show our face to the world again. I will only say this much: it is human to make mistakes! But how to explain that to us, teenagers, who are just learning how to live and have no idea how life works (in fact, most adults probably do not either)? We are surrounded by posts on the internet that say: " YOLO" or "live your life" and the like, we are constantly surrounded by adverts on every social network imaginable telling us how to live a better, more comfortable, higher quality life, we look at posts from our peers about how they are out having fun with their friends every day while we are at home, locked in our room with the last packet of crisps, hunched over the table because our phone is charging and our cable is too short to lie on the bed. We are constantly worrying about how we are supposed to look good in front of society and how we are supposed to live the perfect life that all our friends are living... or at least we think we are. Yet we do not even realise that the most important thing is ourselves and we still do not understand that the only person we will be with for the rest of our lives is ourselves and only us. There are many moments that we would like to forget and that we believe can only happen to us. We think that everything has to be perfect right away and that if we fail, we are incompetent. We all have them... probably quite a few... but it seems to me that the more we talk about these things and the more open we are with each other, the quicker we will realise that maybe we are not the only ones. And yes, the show is different and different from others. It is a performance after which no one will leave the auditorium saying "Wow, that's a beautiful story", but it is a performance that teaches us something. It teaches us how to overcome shame and face it. Sometimes it just helps to know that you are not the only one and that there are people who have had similar things happen to them, maybe even the same thing. It touches on all kinds of issues that are relevant in this time... and I do not mean our time, as we are young now, I am talking about OUR TIME, the time of the 21st century. The fact that part of the show takes place on the internet - on phones - and thus shows us the way of life today is a very good example of our time, but at the same time it is a constant reminder of the unreality of the virtual world and the toxicity of social networks. I think the show will change many people's view of shame and today's society in general. The society we live in. - Sofija Lavrač Črnivec


Sram. Shame. Solitude. Loneliness.

Even if you pay me, I will never go to a restaurant alone, or to the theatre alone, or to the cinema alone, or to the bus alone, or to the plane alone, or to the train alone, or to the café alone, or to Ikea alone, or to the museum alone, or to the gallery alone, or to the wedding alone, or to the dance alone, or to the post office alone, or to the bank alone, or to the doctor alone, or to the vaccination alone, or to the hotel alone, or to the party alone, or to the bar alone, or to the disco alone, or to the market alone, or to the open kitchen alone, or to the swimming alone, or to the skiing alone, or to the skating alone, or to the outing alone, or to the holiday alone.

'Would you please come with me?' 'With you? Why?'

Because I am infinitely ashamed. I am ashamed of being alone and looking up in the air and waiting. I do not know what to do with my hands, but them in my pockets, at my side, crossed on my chest, in my coat, on my thighs, hugged, free on my body? What about my hands? Are they not touching, folded, together, apart, front, back, bottom, top, open, closed? Should I be serious, should I laugh, what if I have nothing to laugh about and no reason to be serious? What is man like when he does not think? But is it less strange when I am in the background? Or is it even stranger? You see, I just do what I have to do quickly and that's it. But actually, that's not true. What about in between? Right now I am still alone and I can not, I can not. I am ashamed of my stares, of turning my head to look for familiar faces, I am ashamed of looking at the clock every five seconds because I want this thing to go away, I am ashamed of the silence, I am ashamed of everything. I can not shake this unpleasant feeling, this s(r)amot. Imagine, for example, that I am walking alone in a museum, looking at an exhibition. So I can not say anything to anyone. Then suddenly. I open my mouth and a few words escape. Say: 'Wow, what a beautiful girl that is painted! It's as if a whole room full of people turn around and look at me at the same time. I can hear my heart beating, pulse rising from one second to the next. They are all staring at me. Slowly they start shaking their heads. I hear soft words in my head. 'Could you have done that?' 'Who did you say that to?' 'I can not believe it!' 'My goodness, you did not!' I swallow my saliva and look more closely at the people. There are two of them. 'Oh, no! They are all in pairs! So they all have someone. Who do I have? I tilt my head because the moment hurts too much. I am shaking. And not for the first time. It's the same every time. Look at her, she's on the bus and shaking, she's watching a show and shaking, she's shaking in the shop, in the bar, in the post office, in the street, in the park, in the swimming pool. Stop it! Come on! Shake! I can not, I am sorry, I can not. Because I think too much. We are meant to be together. You are supposed to have a person who's your safety net. You know that I do not have that person. And that I am alone. Alone. Alone! Sa-ma! My head begins to reverberate, I breathe harder, my smile disappears. The worst thing is that there is no one to help me. I can not ask anyone what to do now, I can not hug anyone, I can not hide in their arms, forget the world around us and feel close and safe. There is no one to be my safety net at this moment. Who will help me? No one. Because. I am. Alone. And I am ashamed of that. - Nina Koritnik

  • Try writing a similar account of shame yourself.

TRAP FREESTYLE


In this production, the actors and actress have each prepared a "diss track" (a song which main purpose is to verbally attack someone else, usually another performer). In their songs, the two actors "attack" a third performer, focusing mainly on issues that this performer raises during the performance.

You can watch trap videos from the production via the links below:

  1. Wulveryyna x Shtackyy: ASSMAN

  2. Charmyytron x Wulveryyna: BAD REMAKE

  3. Shtackyy x Charmyytron: DRAMA QUEEN

  • Consider what social issues are addressed by including diss tracks in the performance?
  • Try writing a diss track for yourself. You can find rhythmic music tracks online that can serve as a melody while you write the lyrics yourself.

MAXYBOW42 APP

  • Describe the end of the production.
  • What happened in the application's chat group?
  • Did you notice what happened on stage in the meantime?
  • Did the participants show the same face in the app as they did in person?
  • What does the last part of the performance hint at or outline?

Online shaming (cyberbullying) is an online version of vigilantism where people take the law into their own hands. As in the real world, perpetrators are often convinced that their actions will bring about justice that would not otherwise have been achieved. In other cases, online shaming is used to attack someone out of spite or to discredit the victim.

  • Think about some examples of online shaming.
  • Have you ever been shamed online? How did you respond to it?
  • Do you think that you as individuals have the power to do something about online shaming?

Vigilantism is a foreign word derived from the Spanish word "vigilante" meaning "night watchman". The word usually refers to the phenomenon of a group or individual putting pressure on the state to act in the interest of society. In modern times, the word has acquired a negative connotation, as it is often used to refer to undemocratic, often violent activities that impose patterns of behaviour (cited in Jernejšek, Luka. Vigilantism: a case study. University of Maribor, 2017).

You can read more about digital vigilantism here.

In art, we often talk about the subject of shame from the position of the victim or the person who has felt the shame. In everyday life, however, we often find ourselves (knowingly or unknowingly) in the position of the person who triggers the feeling of shame in another person. This is especially the case in social media.

Rita Koganzon writes in her article "The Politics of Digital Shaming":

“ The extent to which we are willing to inflict pain on others is tempered by our own shame at being, and being thought, cruel. This means that even when a guest or a colleague makes an off-color remark at a party or at a meeting, few people will respond by gathering everybody to berate the speaker publicly in an Orwellian "Two Minutes Hate" and then throwing him out of the building, which would be roughly the physical equiv-alent of an Internet pile-on. The only decent way to respond without making oneself more loathsome than the original offender is to take him aside privately and offer a gentle suggestion. Social media diminishes both the discomfort of seeing our victim's suffering and the shame of being seen making him suffer, both of which require personal proximity to experience.”

  • Think about and give some reasons why you think that name-calling and insults are easier to do on the interner than in real life.
  • Do you think that online attacks are more or less radical than in real life?
  • Have you ever found yourself in the position of an online abuser or attacker? And about in person?

Here you can read a short article about online harassment.

REFERENCES IN FILM AND TELEVISION

  • Caught in the Net (V síti, 2020) is a Czech documentary about sex offenders on the Internet.

  • I May Destroy You (2020) is an English series about Arabella, a young writer trying to rebuild her life after being raped.
  • Eighth Grade (2018) is an American film about Kayla, a teenage girl in high school who struggles with anxiety and tries to be accepted by her peers during the last week of eighth grade.

The material prepared by Benjamin Zajc, Bruno Moreira, Sofija Lavrač Črnivec in Nina Koritnik. 


SPONSORS OF THE THEATRE