A couple of weeks ago I went to see WET at Perdu, Amsterdam. Theatre is one of the things I miss the most ever since moving to the Netherlands, so I was delighted when hearing about this play by the British theatre group, Screw Productions.
WET is a play about women, sex and porn co-written by Bryony Cole and Grace Carroll, starting from an anonymous survey they sent to women, asking for their views on porn. It follows two female characters, Holly and Sophie, prey to contemporary frustrations, such as the high cost of urban living, and the lack of self-realisation through career (filmmaking, in this case) and through sex. Salvation comes in the idea of making a feminist porn movie. In the process of writing the movie, which is the greatest part of the play itself, Holly and Sophie discover and try to address not-so-comfortable things about their desires and sexuality.
WET tackles these topics with delicious humour and a total lack of pretence. This is visible from the first scene, when Holly lies in bed, browsing the internet for some quality porn, a vibrator aside and a boring expression on her face. She is again reminded that there is nothing quite interesting out there, because porn lacks one essential element: female pleasure. The idea that women are in search of sexual pleasure and entitled to it just as much as men becomes the core or the story. At this point, the audience becomes fully intrigued and engaged.
As the story progresses and Holly and Sophie start to write their movie, which is meant to address sex and pleasure from the female perspective, more layers reveal to the spectator – and more frustrations for the protagonists. Holly is playing the contemporary dating game, going to clubs, picking up someone, having sex, never seeing that person again. Short-term pleasure with no intimacy makes her feel not so happy in the long run. What Sophie is after is a bit more than that. She is the incurable romantic, for whom sex – as pleasant, normal, and important as it is on its own – should be a prelude or part of something greater, something to be shared and enjoyed in the context of a meaningful human connection. No wonder, in the current world, she is set for lots of disappointments.
Both women, despite their differences, tastes and choices, find consolation in the end. First of all, they find it in their friendship. Being open and honest with each other about their desires and limitations – which does not always come at hand in real life – brings strength and richness to their relationship. This is one point I really liked in the play. Holly and Sophie are also honest to themselves and fully in charge of their own lives, so each of them decides to follows her own path in pleasure, in love, or in both – another inspiring moment in the play.
I focused more on the deeper themes, but there surely are enough moments of genuine laughter in WET, and this ambivalence is what makes the play enjoyable, relatable, and smart. WET is exuding a contemporary indie air, which I believe adds up to the idea of realness the producers are after. You will leave smiling and hopefully you are in the company of good friends because you will definitely want to talk about it right away.
You can support WET by donating to their Crowdfunder campaign.