Morgan Cross/VICTORIA NEWS
YouTuber Monica Ogden brings some of her best and worst YouTube comments to stage as part of her new performance at the Victoria Fringe Festival this month.
A self-proclaimed social justice warrior and Victoria resident, Ogden has as many supporters as she has opponents. Those two factors fuel her excitement and apprehension for the show, which begins at the end of August.
Monica vs. The Internet (Tales of a Social Justice Warrior) is a one-woman performance that takes a stand-up approach to giving voice to women of colour. The show explores some of the physical and online challenges Ogden has personally faced as a mixed-race Filipina woman, delving into the highlights and drawbacks of being an outspoken feminist online and in the physical world, and aiming to disrupt exclusionary narratives and behaviours in online and theatre communities.
An actor, improviser and feminist, Ogden hopes to put on a funny and enlightening performance for Victoria; though one, she cautions, that will not appeal to all audiences.
“[The show] is a lot of me poking fun at the stuff that happens to myself online,” Ogden said, adding that a lot of storytelling is involved.
“I think, given the current political climate of the world, centring marginalized voices is so important right now. It’s important we centre all women of colour about their experiences, because they’re the experts on what racism is and what systemic oppression is.”
Taking a page from her own book, Ogden has created her show with the help of an entirely female – primarily of colour – creative team.
In Ottawa’s Fringe Festival two months ago, Ogden and Tony Adams collaborated for their experimental and comedic show Lub Dub, which focused largely on social awareness as well. Ogden said the performance received backlash and there were instances of covert racism and harassment.
Despite that experience, she promises that Monica vs. The Internet will be an honest show and she has no plans to hold back while on stage. “This is most certainly a show for people who have experienced marginalization, and if you can’t relate, you should probably listen. I think it is for everyone, but it’s going to challenge some people more than others.”
The 12-day Victoria Fringe Festival is one of Vancouver Island’s largest theatre events, with 58 shows from across the world celebrating indie and alternative performance.
Monica vs. The Internet plays at the Downtown Community Centre (Fringe Venue 2, 755 Pandora Ave.) on Aug. 25, 26, 27 and 30 and Sept. 1 and 2 at various times. For more information on Ogden, or show times and ticketing details for the Fringe Festival, visit intrepidtheatre.com.