Porn.Cake | Griffin Theatre Company

Porn.Cake is a play I managed to both love and find a bit confusing.

During the show, I, like everyone else in the audience, was laughing and gasping and generally having a good time. Afterwards, however, I found myself wondering how all the parts of the play, enjoyable as they were, really fitted together to make a whole. It was, in that sense, like cake: in the moment of consumption, it was light and feathery and delicious. Afterwards, I wasn't quite sure if I was glad I'd eaten it.

I think my main confusion lay in not quite understanding how cake, which functioned as the central symbol of the play, related to the story. Cake was present in nearly every single scene, but I had trouble working out what it meant. Perhaps this was the point: cake, we are told, is the new porn, which is the new Google, which is the new infidelity, which is the new happiness, which is the new clicking beetle, which is the new insert-random-signifier here. Maybe cake was something deliberately empty, deliberately random, deiberately meaningless, meant to mirror and echo the loneliness and confusion of the four actors. If this was the intention, I'm not entirely sure it worked: I felt like I was missing a key piece of the puzzle.

What I did think was particularly clever was the way the structure of the play mirrored the structure of porn: cyclical, building to multiple climaxes, but no climax so overwhelming it cannot be surpassed by the next. Porn is a genre where linear plot means virtually nothing: instead, repetition is the key to finding whatever truth lies at its heart. The feelings of stuckness and loneliness and dissatisfaction expressed by the characters in Porn.Cake, alien as they might seem to the pornographic genre, echoed the idea that there is a desire that cannot be sated, a hunger that cannot be satiated. Porn.Cake was, like actual porn, repetitive. In porn, the solution to this dissatisfaction is, well, porn. In Porn.Cake, the characters tried to use cake as the solution (though, as I mentioned, these links could have been more pronounced).

Overall, Porn.Cake utilised a very clever structure to tell the story, and I really enjoyed all four performances. All of the actors (Georgina Symes, Glenn Hazeldine, Olivia Pigeot and Josef Ber) had long, difficult monologues – NOT a hallmark of porn! – and all four handled them beautifully. The storytelling in these sections was outstanding and were probably the scenes I enjoyed the most. Both the writer Vanessa Bates and the performers deserve major credit here, as well as director Shannon Murphy. Holding an audience’s interest in monologues is a difficult art, but Murphy did a beautiful job. Where the problem lay was in understanding how these scenes – and indeed, all of the scenes – related to each other. Every scene was delicious, but they didn't all seem to come from the same cake.

Porn.Cake is a lot of fun, even if the parts are more satisfying than the whole.

 

Griffin Theatre Company presents
Porn.Cake
by Vanessa Bates

Director Shannon Murphy

Venue: SBW Stables Theatre, 10 Nimrod Street Kings Cross
Dates: 20 June – 14 July, 2012
Tickets: $30 – $23
Bookings: www.griffintheatre.com.au | 02 9361 3817

 

 

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