In our supposedly modern and enlightened world, why does talking about sex still make us so uncomfortable? Four graduates from Langara’s Studio 58 are looking to change the conversation and open up the dialogue about sex in Let’s Talk About Sex: All the good things & the bad things.
“It is a collection of experiences that we have had around sex. These are our own experiences and those that we have learned from others,” says Zac Scott, whose original Studio 58 play Genital Topography is the basis for this new show.
While the four – Scott, Anais West, Vince Leblanc- Beaudoin and Laena Brown – will lay bare their own stories, Let’s Talk About Sex also delves into the sex lives of others, gathered through anonymous emails and interviews.
“We heard from a lot of people that were perhaps a little hesitant to share their stories because they didn’t think they had anything interesting to say,” says Anais West, another of the collective. “But when we started talking to them a lot of really interesting things start to emerge.”
Recognizing their own perspectives on sex are somewhat limited – West identifies as bisexual while the other three identify as straight – the team knew they needed to include additional voices. Through personal interviews and an anonymous email account, they have been able to provide a more representative sample of sexuality in society.
“We were really conscious about striving for as many perspectives as possible,” says West. “We recognize we come from a place of privilege, so we tried to balance that with the interviews and emails.”
Looking for a more conversational tone, Scott admits that while Let’s Talk About Sex is more a framework than a traditional script, the inclusion of the interviews and emails do lend themselves to a more dramatic presentation.
“It adds some theatricality as a lot of experiences take place outside the boxes we put people in when it comes to sexuality,” says West. “In the show, men will tell women stories, straight people will tell gay stories.”
With a show that already seeks to push boundaries, the decision to perform inside the The Art of Loving, the self-described adult entertainment store, Let’s Talk About Sex made sense to its creators.
“We were looking for a non-conventional theatre space to do the show and knew we wanted a place where people were a little more closer to us,” says Scott. “We started thinking about sex shops, and while we knew it had this built-in hurdle, if we could get people in the door they we thought it would put the audience into a more adventurous mind space.”
With a built-in clientele The Art of Loving will help bring in a segment of audience predisposed to sexual content, but Scott and West hope to cast a wider net.
“We want to get to people that don’t normally communicate about sex as it makes them uncomfortable,” says Scott.
Scott is hopeful that the draw for regular theatre audiences will be the safe space that will be established for those that might feel embarrassed by the subject matter and the location.
“We guarantee that we are the ones that will be jumping off the cliffs,” laughs Scott. “You’ll get to be part of the experience, but we’re the ones taking risk.”
“I’m also hoping that it will attract people who don’t normally go to the theatre too,” adds West. “It is about having an authentic conversation. We open up dialogue about subjects that aren’t usually talked about.”
Let’s Talk About Sex: All the good things & the bad things plays The Art of Loving (369 West Broadway, Vancouver) on January 14-16 & January 21-23. The show is 19+. Visit https://artofloving.ca for tickets and information.