Documentary theatre production All the Sex I've Ever Had seeks anecdotal wisdom from the elderly
'People can see one another, and perhaps their elders, in a new and different light'
‘Are you 65 and still thinking about sex?’ was the question the Canadian theatre company Mammalian Diving Reflex used to attract the very first participants for its new project. Aiming to shatter society’s preconceptions, All The Sex I’ve Ever Had features elderly Glaswegians discussing their sex lives.
‘We’ve collaborated quite a bit with children and youth, with a focus on children’s rights,’ says artistic director Eva Verity. ‘For All the Sex I’ve Ever Had we decided to swing the pendulum the other way – to work with seniors and talk about sex, a topic seldom approached with the older generations despite their life-long wealth of expertise. This also seemed relevant in the context of the ageing baby-boom generation.’
It’s been nearly four years since the company started the research and interviews that feed into All The Sex I’ve Ever Had, which uses local non-actors wherever it plays. Since 2009, Mammalian Diving Reflex has toured the show to Bern, Switzerland and the Singapore Arts Festival.
‘Reactions to the performance have been positive,’ says Verity. ‘Often people are surprised that the performers are not actors, and that the stories are real.’
If any young audience member is concerned about the seemliness of the show’s subject matter, Verity is confident they will take something more positive from the piece than inter-generational embarrassment. This is not a show about titillation. ‘Our goal is to bring people together in unusual contexts to open up social dynamics and allow for new relationships to take place – so people can get to know and learn about one another, share a performance experience, see one another, and perhaps their elders – maybe even their own family members – in a new and different light.’
Arches, Glasgow, Thu 9–Sat 11 May