Eight Gigabytes of Hardcore Pornography

Martin Portus

Queer and aged 29, Declan Greene has written a raw and detailed exploration of a couple of middle-aged heterosexual losers.
Eight Gigabytes of Hardcore Pornography

Image by Brett Boardman.  

This unflinching play is for anyone who’s masturbated or felt the addictive tug of online pornography or had a declining sexual interest in the sagging body of their partner. And that’s just the start of the male perspective.

Queer and aged 29, Declan Greene has written a raw and detailed exploration – even confessional –  of a couple of middle-aged heterosexual losers who try to hook up with each other. 

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Both characters are on stage as we enter the small intimate space of the Stables and throughout the play the house lights never dim. This is our story too. He (Steve Rodgers) is a stout ordinary bloke who works in IT and, while married, aches with loneliness. She (Andrea Gibbs) is a nurse and single mother, with no self-esteem and mobile calls only from creditors.

He scans the audience for possible female replies to his online posts, despite being ‘a little outside your age range’, but settles for an awkward pub meeting with She. After He vomits, they couple for the night.

Later he’s sacked from work because hardcore pornography was again discovered on his laptop and, while he returns to She, it is only in search of harbour. Briefly, it works, sort of. He even cooks gourmet for the kids but bad fortune dogs them both. Through their powerlessness they slide into betrayal and the ending is literally naked and wrenching.

The confessional power of Greene’s play is enhanced by the characters talking as much to us about what they are thinking as to each other. Their nightmares, dreams and self-doubts are expressed as vividly as we see their dull intercourse. Director Lee Lewis handles these switches unstintingly but effortlessly and the actors are triumphant. 

Dressed flatly by Marg Howell and lit mercilessly by Matthew Marshall, this is a voyage we share through our own petty scruples and fears. Steve Rodgers was similarly memorable recently as the bloke wanting to pick up chicks by learning how to Dance Better at Parties. Perth comedian Andrea Gibbs applies all her good timing and pathos to capture She’s giggly yearning.

When not making outrageous theatre as part of Melbourne’s Sisters Grimm, Declan Greene was for years cruising sites and online confessionals for the language and nuances of his characters.

Eight Gigabytes may be unrelentingly dark – perhaps just too unleavened by any reality of occasional optimism and lightness – yet with its compelling human secrets, it’s surprisingly funny. It’s a play for all of us.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Eight Gigabytes of Hardcore Pornography

Director: Lee Lewis
Designer: Marg Horwell
Lighting Designer: Matthew Marshall
Composer: Rachael Dease
Assistant Director: Luke Rogers
Stage Manager: Amy Harris
Cast: Andrea Gibbs and Steve Rodgers

Stables Theatre, Kings Cross
www.griffintheatre.com.au
9 May – 14 June 
The Street Theatre, Childers St, Canberra City West
www.thestreet.org.au
17-21 June
The Perth Theatre Company, William St, Perth
www.perththeatre.com.au
1-12 July

About the author

Martin Portus is a Sydney-based writer, critic and media strategist. He is a former ABC Radio National arts broadcaster and TV presenter.