“Violent porn makes violent people.” The National Theatre production of We Want You To Watch is a dynamic and commanding performance exploring pornography and its impact on people. RashDash Theatre Company are renowned for their use of movement and music and the effect of this was astounding.
The play is set around four short pieces that are centred around two women played by Helen Goalen and Abbi Greenland who are constantly talking directly to the audience, they are trying to convince them that porn should be banned. However they struggle to express this with their words so they take to movement to communicate with the audience that porn is damaging and degrading.
Whilst the set is quite bare, despite the scattered cans of ‘tinned sex’, the performance begins with the two women posing as police officers interrogating a man who killed a young girl as a result of his obsession with violent porn, as he mimicked the ideas that were featured in the films he had been watching.
It then cuts to the scene where the pair have kidnapped and held hostage the Queen in order to get her to sign an agreement to ban porn. Sat in her crown and housecoat she questions the pair on what the difference really is between sex and porn and they respond with movements and the use of vocals to illustrate the aggressive nature of pornography. This is then reflected as the Queen then uses her own sequence of movement and sound to portray what sex feels and looks like. Lightening up the show with humour really keeps the balance of allowing the show to be informing yet highly enjoyable.
I found the most powerful moment in the show to be the simplicity of the scene in which a little boy is sat crossed legged at the front of the stage as the two women gaze down at him predicting how his future relationships will be harmed after he is first shown porn in the playground. It is potent and emotive how they discuss how his view on women will change and his respect for them will dwindle. It is haunting to see his innocence and integrity diminish as the women talk you through how porn will change his perception of women and relationships.
They want to ban pornography, turn the internet off and begin again. In the final section of the performance the two women whilst dressed as young girls are confronted with a mega cyber hacker as they beg and plead her to turn off the internet.
The radical performance uses a multitude of theatrical conventions, some explosive and interwoven with physical theatre yet others so simple that merely the spoken word is dynamic enough. Feminist anger seeps through the performance and they emphasise the toxicity that pornography is creating. The energy is electric and the impact is forceful.
We Want You To Watch continues at The Lowry tonight and information can be found here.
Photo Credit: :copyright:Richard Davenport 2015,