Pornography is created for the male gaze. This is a fact, something that is wholly unfair, and an issue that Screw Productions aren’t going to take lying down. WET is two women’s journey through the myriad of porn, break ups and personal sexual discovery, and leaves the audience feeling hopeful for the future of feminist sexual gratification.
The success of this piece lies in the attention to detail and the creative choices made surrounding the set, props and costume. Throughout the piece, the actors dress in brightly coloured clothes, and this adds a sense of fun, and helps to rewrite the narrative around porn from something that has historically been seen as dark and sordid, and presents it instead as something unapologetic and fun, and it’s through this joyful style that the audience are able to relax into the narrative and engage with the story. Early on in the performance the failures of porn are dissected and shown to us through excellent use of comic narration and mime, and it is from this starting point that Screw Productions rebuild what porn - and sex more generally - should, and can, be.
This use of comedy to explore the topic takes the edge off the awkwardness of it all and allows the audience into the dialogue in a non-exposing way. This is complemented by live sound effects and other technical elements, which bring yet another comic element to the piece. This decision also reinforces the underlying message that sex is a live act, and its success - or failure - is dependent on what happens in the moment, and that it doesn’t always happen in a picture perfect way, as so much mainstream porn would suggest.
In any situation where an overtly feminist standpoint is critiquing a patriarchal norm, there is the opportunity for the message to be one of one-dimensional feminist success in a simplistic, good-versus-bad dialogue. This is a trap that WET does not fall into. Screw Productions navigate the complexities of sexual exploration in a way that does not shy away from the problematic decisions one character takes to explore their sexuality, but instead examines this through female to female disagreement - a refreshing change from women being shamed by men.
The audience were vocal in their appreciation throughout theperformance, and it was heartening to be a part of the event. This production might not completely overhaul the creative decisions made in the majority of porn, but it will help you to remember that there is a whole other world of sexual liberation out there beyond the contents of Pornhub.
Written by @EmmaLamond23