Pulls back the covers on teenage boys and porn

Gonzo is about teenage boys and porn – specifically, how often they watch it, who they watch it with, and why.

In Gonzo, four teenage boys will get up close and personal to candidly reveal their relationship with porn. They’ll divulge alarming and uncensored perspectives that will make your jaw drop, as we delve into a squeamish – but long overdue – conversation about how internet porn is affecting adolescent boys.

Gonzo lays bare the facts of modern life in the age of instant access to ‘adults-only’ zones. We suggest you leave your preconceptions at the door as Gonzo pulls back the covers on teenage boys and porn.

Contains adult content. Recommended ages 18+.

Statement on the creation of Gonzo

When work commenced on Gonzo last year, there was a sense that it was a timely project and that people would want to contribute to a conversation led by teenage boys about online pornography. We were right and we were wrong. It is certainly timely. In recent weeks, the topic has made it to the front page of our newspapers as school students are implicated in online sharing of nude images.

But, fascinatingly and frustratingly, it has been challenging to get people to talk. The subject of pornography invokes shame and fear. Teachers are in a position where they can’t let us interview their students, they can’t even circulate a survey without parental permission. When the forms to sign go home, they never return, perhaps this is because boys aren’t prepared to acknowledge to their families that they are engaging with online adult content. But statistically, they are.

At St Martins, we are experts in creating work with children and teenagers and always demonstrate due diligence for their care and safety. Clare Watson, the director of Gonzo has been working with teenagers for two decades (including as a school teacher and year level co-ordinator) and creates a working space that engenders equality, frankness, rigor and lots of fun. We recognise that pornography is a subject that invokes strong reactions, many of them negative, and as such we have taken the utmost care with each stage of the development of Gonzo.

To create this work we have been devising with a cast of four male actors, 16 to 18 years of age. Their worldview and points of view are driving the creation of the production. They are dramaturgically active in every facet of the show, from discussing script, to performance style, to design choices. They have devised the bulk of the material that they deliver on stage. Very early on we recognized that we wanted the stories about consuming porn to come from outside the rehearsal room and for those sources to remain anonymous to the cast. This decision was made to mitigate any reputational risk for our performers on stage and to those generously offering their experiences. This material was gathered from an anonymous online survey and a series of small focus groups. So when our cast members are citing their porn experiences, they are delivering verbatim script and it is not their own words.

Alongside this, Watson and St Martins has consulted with experts across many facets of the subject matter, and have had a strong governance framework to ensure that the process has been above reproach.

The boys that we’re working with are diverse, empathic, media savvy, marvelously talented, witty and extremely intelligent human beings. They understand the need to talk about pornography in order to reduce shame, sensationalizing and scapegoating and they are hoping that the work they create can help promote a calm conversation.


21 September - 1 October 2016

Malthouse Theatre
Beckett Theatre
113 Sturt Street

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