Eight Gigagytes of Hardcore Pornography

Eight Gigagytes of Hardcore Pornography
By Declan Greene. Griffin Theatre Company and Perth Theatre Company. Director: Lee Lewis. SBW Stables Theatre, Sydney, 7 May – 14 June, 2014; The Street Theatre, Canberra, 17 – 21 June & Studio Underground - State Theatre Centre of WA, 1 – 12 July.

Don’t come to this saucily titled play if you’re looking for even a single binary digit’s worth of porn. There are many establishments just along the main Kings Cross drag where plenty of uplifting hardcore awaits you. Declan Greene’s new play, on the other hand, is likely to bring you down. Way down.

Under the austere direction of Lee Lewis, actors Andrea Gibbs and Steve Rodgers brilliantly, forensically, portray an unnamed couple of 40-year-olds who declare themselves at the outset to be “stupid and fat and boring and ugly and old”. Both reach out via the internet and meet amid the ruins of their adult lives.

He is the one who has watched the downloaded porn of the title, not that it did him the slightest good. He loses his job and his home, before crashing on her couch, disturbing further the dire state of her stressed life with two children, a crook back and a habit of splurging her credit card on items she neither needs nor wants.

It’s a miserable, desolate life they both lead and our hopes that something — anything! — might make things better for them are regularly dashed, right up to a nasty sting in the final moments.

What is certain however is the conviction and reality that both fine actors bring. Though clearly not stupid, fat or ugly enough to truly fulfil their author’s vision, both Gibbs and Rodgers deliver searing, up-close portraits of extreme unhappiness and wracked despair.

Their interlocking monologues are played on Marg Horwell’s setting — a dull-coloured wall-to-wall (and up-the-wall) shagpile carpet and white vertical blinds upon which is projected that elusive word ‘happiness’ from time to time.

The houselights are left on for most of the performance, forcing us to inspect the half-an-audience facing us, after which, out into the bleak Kings Cross night we go, chilled to the very marrow.  

Frank Hatherley 

Photographer: Brett Boardman

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