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Emily Aboud - FLIP! Interview

FLIP! is a powerful new satire written by critically-acclaimed writer Racheal Ofori (Black Ops, Portrait, I Used To Be Famous) and directed by Evening Standard Future Theatre Award winner 2021 Emily Aboud (SPLINTERED, Pink Lemonade). It probes what it means to live freely under the shadow of social media encroaching on every aspect of our lives, and asks how can we be our authentic selves in a world of algorithms intent on proving just how disposable we all are?

Examining the relationship between two young Black women and an obsession with social media, the play will star Leah St Luce and Jadesola Odunjo.

Fuel presents FLIP! in association with Alphabetti Theatre with the production playing at The Alphabetti Theatre in Newcastle from 10th until 28th October, Summerhall in Edinburgh from 30th October until 4th November and the Soho Theatre in London from 7th until 25th November.

Jadesola Odunjo and Leah St Luce. Photo by Myah Jeffers

Ahead of the tour I caught up with director Emily to discuss the show further.

What first drew you to FLIP!?
Initially, the piece really excited me because Racheal has such a command of comedy writing, specifically between two best friends. I found myself laughing out loud as I first read it and I was really really excited by the prospect of getting two young actors to bring these characters to life. As the process has continued, I've always been really excited by the themes of the piece -  the rise of influencer culture and the loss of self - getting to work with Racheal as the script progresses is a dream.

How have you approached implementing your own vision and style on the piece?
I work very collaboratively and I also have a background in devising and clown. Thankfully, Racheal shares my love of the theatricality that cabaret and clown excel at. It's been incredibly smooth, bringing my vision to the piece because Racheal and I have such similar taste. It's become almost a competition to see who's going to pitch the most unnaturalistic thing for the show. Thankfully, we were able to do a couple days of R&D last month which really allowed us to discuss ideas with the creative team and start planning effects in advance.

What research did you have to do for the production?
Oh man, lots of internet videos - influencer culture is scaryyyyy. It's been a lot of YouTube deep dives, learning what the kids are up to on the old Internet and, perhaps worse, TikTok. I've been saying for years that I need to delete TikTok but at least this way, when I'm procrastinating it is still technically research.

Do you think social media has changed theatre in any way?
YES. I hate to be binary but cumulatively, I do actually think social media does more evil than good. It makes me so grateful that social media really only started after my brain was a fully developed adult brain. Seeing some of these kids with no attention spans, teenagers doing skincare routines to prevent aging, not to mention the data theft, election influencing, rise in fascism, the list goes on. These are programs that are designed to keep you watching, keep you hooked; steal your data to sell you products and learn your behaviours to influence which policies to vote for. It's not right. These programs are run by billionaires who do not care for marginalized communities or any sense of socialism, sometimes it really feels like Facebook is to blame for the rise in hate crime. The change in culture is affecting everything in the arts. On the one hand the attention span of younger audience members but on the other hand, what art gets made/funded. For example, if the press continue their anti-trans narrative, who is going to program queer theatre? I went on a bit of a tangent there but social media has changed everything and it's moving faster than anyone can make laws to regulate it.

The cast and creative team of FLIP!
What keeps you inspired as a creative?
Making communities as the antithesis of capitalism. Getting people together in a room to tell a story is an ancient tradition, older than fire. It's an honour to do this as a job. Every play doesn't need to be a Marxist revolution but the simple act of getting people together for the express purpose of making them feel things is great, it reminds us that we're human, that we're pack animals.

What do you hope an audience member takes away from seeing FLIP!?
I suppose the loss of self that is accompanied with the rise of influencer culture. The idea that curating your life for other people is not actually living. I'm certainly guilty of it. I can't not share that I'm eating a delicious meal or going for a run or with friends. We are slightly living a performance of our lives.

FLIP! will play Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle (10 - 28 October), Summerhall, Edinburgh (30 October - 4 November) and Soho Theatre, London (7 - 25 November). Visit for tickets.

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