Robert Softley's latest interactive work explores the relationship between disability and pornography
- Lorna Irvine
- 23 February 2017
Taboo-tackling theatre takes on the porn industry
Robert Softley is one of Britain's most provocative and challenging theatre makers. Born with cerebral palsy, his critically-acclaimed work such as If these Spasms Could Speak and Purposeless Movements are an uncompromising look at living daily with disability, often with the emphasis on humour and sexually-charged dialogue. It is safe to say that the Daily Mail may have a shit fit over some of his more outré scripts.
His new interactive work, part of the Take Me Somewhere programme, examines the representation of disabled people in pornography. Upon entering the space, the audience member will be asked if they want to watch video clips of sex, or rather, have a chat instead. He expects that some may be shocked or challenged. 'It's certainly not going to be about fluffy bunnies', he quips. 'I think that people who know my work will also know that sexuality is frequently a part of it – although I haven't faced it quite so head on before'.
With pornography's focus on perfect, often cosmetically enhanced performers, he wants to provide an alternative. He adds,' It seems to me that mainstream society is still pretty uncomfortable with the idea that you can find an 'imperfect' body sexually attractive … there's also a major fear around exploiting disabled people – we assume they can't have the capacity to consent to being in porn/having sex, so we get very nervous and would then rather pretend it just didn't happen'.
Softley believes that this work should have a positive impact in creating a dialogue around these issues, and perhaps open a few minds along the way.' 'If the end result was a national campaign to get more disabled people in to porn, then all the better!'
CCA, Glasgow, Tue 7–Wed 8 Mar, 18+ only.