Directed by Jennifer Flowers and starring Thomas Larkin and Veronica Neave as Ethan and Olivia, Sex with Strangers is a fast-paced, witty and compelling play that explores the clash of the public and the personal when love and the digital age collide.
Co-star and co-producer, Thomas Larkin, shared his thoughts with us on the war between love and technology in the iAge.
Can you explain how love and technology collide when the story explores the struggle between public and personal?
When the play opens we meet the main protagonist, 39 year old Olivia. Olivia has tucked herself up for the week in a rural B&B in Michigan to focus on proofreading her latest novel. Enter Ethan, a 27 year old sex blogger, who has quickly ascended to fame and notoriety off the success of his blog Sex with Strangers. At first it appears that Olivia and Ethan are the absolute antithesis of each other. Olivia hasn’t embraced the latest technological advances of the iPad and such, whereas Ethan seemingly couldn’t breathe without access to WiFi. However, as the story unfolds and energies collide it becomes apparent that they have more in common than they probably initially realised. One of these is their strong carnal attraction.
Do you think the production is very relatable for the public?
With an ever-growing number of people now meeting and communicating over social media and technology at large, this is a play that will resonate with the masses. Whether you are a downright luddite who dreams of the days when people could only reach you via snail mail, or the sort of person who would prefer to give up sex than relinquish your iPhone, this production will challenge and provoke these long held opinions.
Do you believe there is a current clash of generations due to technology?
Technology plays a big role in inter-generational clashes and is evolving at such a fast pace that it is easy for anyone, regardless of their generation, to fall behind. At the core of this concern is the fact that language is suffering. We are now living in the ‘iAge’ where we [apparently] no longer require the use of traditional punctuation and grammar. Sentences are being truncated to fit within the confines of our ever-growing busy and important lives. Of course, not everyone is addicted to these modes of communication. Many still value their anonymity and personal space. So naturally, when these two energies collide it can create a very interesting tension.
What was the most interesting thing about working on this production?
This is my first time in the role of co-producer, and in this instance it is in conjunction with both the Director Jennifer Flowers and the Brisbane Powerhouse. I have found the whole experience both challenging and rewarding in many ways. One of the greatest challenges I will glean from this experience is the necessity to deftly wear two very different hats as co-producer and performer and the knowledge as to when and how to alternate between the two.
How has it been being on set with Veronica again after you worked together on Romeo and Juliet?
It is a joy to be working with Ronnie again. Veronica played Juliet for Queensland Theatre Company back in 1989, while I fulfilled the role of Romeo for the same company over 20 years later in 2012. So to now be exploring this love story together, despite the generation gap, has been an incredibly unique opportunity. We work well together and both share a history with our Director Jennifer Flowers. While at times working with friends can provide unexpected challenges, the one thing you can count on is blatant honesty and a no-nonsense approach to the work.
Personal preferences. What do you prefer?
Book or e-book?
I love collecting books. Even more so now because it seems like they will start to become more rare and valuable as we move forward into the future.
Online dating or speed dating?
I would prefer speed dating to online dating. There are certain things that you just can’t register through a computer screen no matter how transparent you try to be. Face to face will always be my preference. There is an exchange of energy that occurs when you meet anyone for the first time, no matter who they are or what the occasion. That direct interaction is crucial for assessing and weighing up compatibility.
Sex with Strangers is showing from Thursday 17 – Saturday 26 July at the Brisbane Powerhouse.
For tickets, click here