REVIEW: Eight Gigabytes of Hardcore Pornography (Silo Theatre)

Eight Gigabytes of Hardcore Pornography

Download Incomplete – Error Occurred [by Matt Baker]

Eight Gigabytes of Hardcore Pornography
Eight Gigabytes of Hardcore Pornography

There is a fine line between playwrights providing what is necessary outside of dialogue for practitioners to convey the meaning of their story, and prescribing the text because they cannot see it any other way. On one hand, theatrical theories, conventions, and practices can shift dramatically over the years, leading to limited explorative opportunities for future practitioners. On the other, it can severely diminish or even conversely alter the entire perspective to which the playwright wishes to adjust an audience. Regarding, Eight Gigabytes of Hardcore Pornography, playwright Declan Greene clearly believes the latter, so much so that not only is it a condition of the play’s licencing, but in the case of Silo Theatre’s production has warranted a written note to be provided to the audience – which has in turn resulted in a response by Silo Theatre themselves. The response does not provide justification – and is therefore unnecessary – and the production should be left to speak for itself. The irony, however, is that Greene’s note, without including Silo Theatre’s response, provides more drama to the evening than anything he’s written in the play to which the note itself refers.

That’s because nothing actually happens in this play. There’s a beginning, in which performers Bronwyn Bradley and Mark Wright immediately endear themselves upon the audience with self-deprecating confessions executed with great comedic skill. There’s a middle, which doesn’t exactly emerge from what we’ve just seen, but does provide potential dramatic conflict, even if it is awkwardly inserted like a virgin’s fumbling fingers. Then there’s an end, in which the cast recite postcard confessions, which I’m sure Greene thought would provide a self-reflective personal catharsis for each member of the audience, but just doesn’t.

This is all compounded by the fact that the entire play is written as talking heads. There is no action. It’s just two people telling you stuff – and it’s a goddamn insult to the audience. Fortunately, director Laurel Devenie has aided her cast in weaving their words into an engaging narrative, and, even with the spatial limitations of Daniel William’s set, is able to incorporate some physical dynamism to the play – even if it is to a restrictively small degree.

The unnamed man and woman are, for all intents and purposes, awful characters. She is delusional and repressed, he is arrogant and selfish, and neither has any – ANY – redeeming qualities. If it wasn’t for both Bradley and Wright’s charisma as performers, which allowed the slightest crack of humanity to shine through, they would be nothing more than as old, fat, stupid, and boring as they confess to be. Greene may be able to justify the necessity of nudity to himself on a pre-show piece of paper, but his Declanaration does not appear to resonate with the majority of the opening night audience. This could, however, be due to Devenie and her cast clearly refusing to present these characters as the two-dimensional stereotypes they are on the page, for which, while perhaps not staying true to the text, I thank them, because there’s no way I was going to be bought off with one minute of nudity after 69 minutes of unstimulating foreplay. It is not the freedom this play or its audience deserve.

Should Silo Theatre have respected the legality of the licencing agreement? Yes – for the life I me I cannot think of a legitimate reason why they didn’t and, more so, got away with it. Did it matter that they didn’t? No. Greene has clear lyrical skill, but the lack of components and consequently completeness to this play does not justify the ending he has prescribed to Eight Gigs. An “electric” Australian playwright and a provocative title might have been enough to programme this show, but it is Devenie and her cast only that provide any reason to close this tab and head out to the theatre.

Eight Gigabytes of Hardcore Pornography is presented by Silo Theatre and plays at the Q Theatre until July 11. For details see Silo Theatre.

SEE ALSO: Theatreview.org.nz review by Jan Maree and Metro Magazine Review by James Wenley

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1 Comment on REVIEW: Eight Gigabytes of Hardcore Pornography (Silo Theatre)

  1. The biggest problem with this play is that the playwright is far too young to write characters of this age. He hasn’t got a clue what it’s like to be middle aged and therefore his characters are unbelievable. It’s like watching bad middle aged playwrights trying to write and think like people in their 20s. Good middle aged playwrights can do it – because they have been in their 20s and remember what it felt like! Declan Greene has an adolescent view of what it means to be “middle aged”, and i felt like I was watching the first draft of something written by a fifteen year old boy. I guess it takes a certain kind of genius to write about a period of life that they have not yet journeyed through; Declan is not one such writer and should stick to the things he understands. He doesn’t understand the first thing about women or girls, and that is regardless of their age! Maybe some research would be a good idea!

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