Midsumma Festival hub, Gasworks Art Park, hosts this humorous peeping through the bedroom keyhole production.
Roach has written and performs a provocative second instalment in his Anxiety Trilogy. He voices his shortcomings, mishaps and possibilities of a future with an emotionally crippling condition. Details of rendezvous are quite vivid.
The story is chronological. A collection of lurid scenarios from his childhood and adolescent years to a matured gay adult man, comfortable in his own “track suit pants”.
Director Lauren Hopely’s intention to convey an uncomfortable or awkward feeling succeeded. Roach stands centre stage in front of a chair, wide legged, hands on hips and is semi naked. He is bare chested wearing unflattering pink y-fronts, an awful vintage “stone washed” denim jacket and a purple leather baseball cap worn backwards. He initiates us into his world sitting down on the chair, still wide legged, chatting with a quick pull up of his short black socks.
His sole companion; a prop laying nearby on the floor. An unusually arranged pair of grey dishevelled tracksuit pants and a hoody jacket. The clothes are laid out and look lifeless as if a dead body in a crime scene. The first twenty minutes of this short piece is fast paced, frank and funny. Hopely has Roach strategically spot lit about the stage, eluding in monologues, to the origins of his impotency.
There is a light hearted account of himself as a small boy discovering his sexuality and this resonates with all genders. His confidence is assured knowing he is above the law of averages as a result of the measurement of his member.
He discusses the absence of his emotions in relation to sex. Particularly his lack of enthusiasm for usual teenage boy masturbation. His states his confusion after a mutual first teenage fumbling with a classmate.
As he matures a graphic bragging account about “popping” his gay virginity adds spice. His thoughts are ever pre-consumed with affection and loving relationships. Connection and love are more important. Roach cups his face, “to have my face cupped and soft kisses.”
Roach is remarkably candid about a disastrous childhood accident in a school playground. A mis – thrown basketball connects with his genitalia and his consequential surgery. I’m female and I could easily imagine the pain and humiliation he felt.
The tone quickly became somber and repetitious. Roach discusses a series of ruthless encounters and his feelings of inadequacy. The ongoing cycle of his affliction perpetuated by his obsession with what society thinks makes him a man.
His preoccupation of his dysfunction led to constant experimentation. Roach details failed attempts to consummate any successful penetrative sexual act in relationships and the shallow nature of one night stands.
There were attempts to lift the mood. He had an endearing quirky “guy dance” he performed once he obtained his first boyfriend. It featured again when he regained the ability to sustain an erection.
Roach lists his measures and self proclaimed “systems” to cope. The spotlight fading to black enhanced dark moments. A medical professional not willing to discuss “such matters”. Or modern medicine interventions and the “little blue pill” quick fix.
This very short second instalment raced in stages and mellowed out. Roach’s third instalment and conclusion of his Trilogy may shed light on the development of “his” character.
Regardless of gender or lifestyle choices, Roach and Hopely question sex, relationships and what is “normal”? This man was measured by the law of averages whether you are above or below. No pun intended. Roach’s perception of a real man is personable and individual. An honest and brutal approach to a regular and unfortunate occurrence.