When offered the opportunity to go and review a play about the birds and the bees, the cripplingly uncomfortable fourteen-year-old in me started panicking. But a night at the theatre is too good a chance to pass up, so I decided to be a mature adult for once in my life and moseyed on over to Subiaco Arts Centre for sixty minutes of very dramatic sex-ed, courtesy of Gita Bezard’s ‘The Talk’. Following the life of fifteen-year-old Eva, we are catapulted straight back into our high-school years, where ‘who slept with who’ is the headliner of every day. Throw in the added complications that come with phones, boys, classes, parents, dildos etc. and it’s like we’re smack-bang back in the middle of the most sexually awkward years of our life. All Eva wants is to expand on her sub-par sex education but with the help of a tremendously unapologetic feminist friend, she begins to realise that it’s not all about pleasing her man.
Right from the get-go, there was no uncertainty about this show’s key theme. The three performers whipped their microphones out of their spectacularly bedazzled fanny packs (honestly the only acceptable type of fanny pack) and kicked it off with a peppy musical mash-up of some classic hanky-panky tunes. Now, I’m always a sucker for a well-choreographed, naughty little number, so I think it was off to a solid start. Can’t say my grandmother would have agreed, but different strokes for different folks, right?
As the show carried on, the fast-paced, witty dialogue held our eyes and ears to the stage, but I began to wonder a little as to whether there would be much subject matter of real substance. One-liners and jazzy dance numbers always make for a good time, but a show centred around the anxieties of a high-school sex life has the potential to explore on some incredibly important issues. I wasn’t left wanting for too long though; a conversation between Eva and her wonderfully candid friend brought up the enormous gap between what is acceptable within the genders’ sexualities. Talking about a guy getting off is pretty run-of-the-mill, but when questioned about whether the favour was returned to her, Eva could barely bring herself to talk about it! Although presented in a comic fashion, I was incredibly glad that this was touched on, because it is in the high school environment that we as women first learn to value our own pleasure less than a male counterpart, which is just not okay, no matter how you choose to look at it.
As Eva develops an increasingly open mindset, she decides the only way to right the wrongs of the patriarchy are to storm her school with a dildo and a riot. “GET YOUR ROSARIES OFF MY OVARIES”, being shouted from the school rooftops, vibrators madly waving in the air; women’s sexual liberation at it’s finest. More musical numbers, more quick banter, and an incredible scene involving the aforementioned dildo and two sexually-baffled parents (think Ned Flanders), and the play was drawn to a close. All in all, I’d have loved to see a bit more depth given to the heavier issues touched upon; the show wonderfully set itself up to engage with these further but seemed to fall just short in the interest of comedy. Nevertheless, the delivery to a very mixed audience was well-received, as I think it really did remind us all of what it was like to have your world contained within a high school.
The Talk is running for another three nights at 7:30pm on the 19th, 20th and 21st held at the Subiaco Arts Centre.