Feeling hungry? Malthouse Theatre is warming up the oven to debut a brilliant new work with the provocative title, Porn. Cake.

 

 
According to the press release, Vanessa Bates’ new play is as decadent and full of secrets as a sneaky middle-of-the-night fridge raid. A bold and witty take on the modern sex comedy, Porn. Cake mixes equal parts of the absurdly obvious with the obviously absurd. According to the actor come director, Pamela Rabe, "It’s a play about fidelity and hope. It’s cake…it’s love…it’s porn."
 
Clearly a modern sex comedy that, by the way, does involve cake, as two couples sit down for a slice of creamy and sweet goodness. They eat, abstain, obsess, and gorge, as the ritual becomes a metaphor for the human desire for connection. Says Rabe: "All I know is that it’s an extraordinary piece for four actors. It’s about trying to exist in relationships and make sense of your life — in the middle of your life — right now."
 
Porn. Cake was on the 2010 Griffin Award short list and was a candidate in the National Script Workshop. Bates is no stranger to writing and has been a playwright since 1990. her previous work includes: Darling Oscar; Checklist For an Armed Robber; Newton’s Cradle and MinceMeat. She also had her first novel published in 2007. It’s great to see a female writer in the thick of it during a time when some say the female writer is in the minority.
 
"There’s certainly a lot being written," Bates says in response to the question about the small percentage of female writers appearing in theatre company programmes. ”Possibly there may be a lack of opportunity for playwrights to develop their work; a few years ago a lot of work came through regional theatre companies that are just not there any more."
 
It’s great then to see the Malthouse continuing on with its wonderful tradition of embracing the premier production and allowing female writers and directors to do what they do. Pamela Rabe has been an actor for nearly 25 years but it has only been recently (and in her 50’s) that she has felt ready to embrace the directorial mantle.
 
 “One of the things that has kept me from directing for such a long time," she says. "Is that I’ve been working with such extraordinary directors. I thought that until I’ve got something to really contribute, I wouldn’t do it. I’ve learned to simply be who you are. Directing is about asking questions. The creative process is an incredibly delicious exercise in curiosity.”
 
Porn. Cake also heralds the new reign of Marion Potts at the Malthouse, says Rabe: "I’m more excited than I can say to be part of Marion Potts’ first season." And in response to what her hopes for the play are: "What I’m hoping is that the experience of being in the theatre starts to develop into something else. It’s the kind of story that can only happen in the theatre. It’s incredibly tempting."
 
Porn. Cake plays at the Beckett Theatre, The CUB Malthouse, 113 Sturt St Southbank from April 15 – May 8. Booking info: www.malthousetheatre.com.au / 96855111

 
 
 

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