The Measure of a Man

The Measure of a Man
By Gavin Roach. Feast Festival. Holden Street Theatres – The Arch. November 22-24, 2018

The Measure of a Man is the second instalment of gay performer Gavin Roach’s anxiety trilogy. This is a one-man show that we are to assume is his own harrowing story about his sexuality and his dysfunction in the bedroom.

Roach has gone through his life basing his self-worth on the size and performance of his penis. Though dealing with physical symptoms, it is clear early that his deep-seated insecurities have also impacted on his mental health.

A handsome man dancing suggestively in his underwear, denim jacket, with no shirt underneath and knee-high socks with the word GAY emblazoned across them, Roach has my attention. Urban beats fill the performing space as he continues dancing until the audience is seated.

A bare stage, apart from one chair, is all that is needed as Roach begins his brave and sincere monologue. The 45-minute piece is scattered with voice-overs of rejection and personal thoughts.

How would you feel if you were in a relationship, but for whatever reason were unable to perform sexually? Would it impact on your self-worth? Would it deem you unlovable to future lovers? Would it be impossible to sustain a relationship? Roach tackles these questions with humour, honesty and raw emotion. He talks about the first time he measured his penis, as well as losing his virginity and his less than exciting love life. So candid is his performance, it is possible to sense the sadness and conflict within his body.

Though this story is a gay man’s journey through expectations and false hope, it is one that any human being can relate to; the pressure we put on ourselves to be sexual beings, the importance of the shape of our bodies, or in this instance, the length of this performer’s penis.

As Roach’s story comes to an end it is clear he is still struggling with the anxiety created by the afore-mentioned questions.

The last line is delivered with confidence and is almost like a declaration, referring to his penis size. “At least I am above average,” he says, but his face demonstrates this is not enough to bring him the contentment and confidence he longs for.

Kerry Cooper

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