Five aliens are preparing to leave the earth, wondering how they can be saved.
Actor, writer, filmmaker, comedian and sex blogger Ava Bogle presents 'The Pleasure Project', combining film, dance, music, lip-syncing and donut holes.
Here, Ava answers some questions about the performance.
The show's performance at Fringe will be its Australian debut! What does it mean for you to be premiering it here?
It’s so exciting. I’ve never really been to Australia. I’ve been in the airport. My dad’s from New Zealand so I’ve been there a lot. I can’t think of a better introduction to the country than to be bringing my show to Adelaide!
What can audiences expect at this show?
'The Pleasure Project' is about sex and female sexuality from the perspective of aliens, so it’s funny and outrageous while also being thought provoking and at times maybe even a bit uncomfortable. It’s feminist and political. Audiences have left saying they feel empowered and inspired. There’s music, dance, film and burlesque elements. My director Rachel Avery and I wanted to create a show that felt celebratory and wasn’t just about pleasure, but was also a pleasurable experience for the audience. So there’s definitely medicine in there, but it comes in a heaping teaspoon of sugar.
As the writer AND performer, what does it take to put a show like this together?
It took all of me to put this show together. For me this show is a culmination of everything I’ve ever done, so in some ways I’ve been working on it my entire career. I developed these alien characters five years ago for some YouTube videos I made. I’ve also been writing about my sex life in my blog 'Diary of a Slutty Feminist' since 2013. The Barbies I use in the show I played with as a child. This show is really a coming together of all those elements into something that although it’s about aliens and I play a bunch of characters, feels very personal.
What are you most excited about when it comes to getting this show out there?
'The Pleasure Project' is all about sexually empowering women, and that’s something I believe is so important, especially right now in light of the #metoo movement. I’m excited to open up that conversation and inspire women to realise the tremendous power they have when they take sexual agency.
Image © Jeff Lorch
Why do you think 'The Pleasure Project' belongs at Adelaide Fringe?
I think the themes of this show are universal and I’d like to reach as many different people as possible all over the world. It will be interesting to see how it’s received in Australia because so far we’ve only performed in America. I’m excited to share it with Adelaide and feel the response from an international audience.
You're a filmmaker too… Do any themes or ideas from any of your films make their way into this show?
Lately, I’ve been really loving working with Barbies in my films. I use Barbies in my most recent short, 'Meryl F***in' Streep', about selling out in Hollywood. I also use Barbies in 'The Pleasure Project', in some video content as well as on stage when one of the aliens retells the story of Adam and Eve using Barbies. Another short I made, 'The Last Dinner Party', deals with sexuality. Sexuality is a theme that crops up in most of my work.
Why do you think a show like this is important in our current climate?
Because we’ve just started talking in a big way about the rampant sexual abuse of women, and women are coming forward to tell their stories. And that’s great, that’s the first step. The next step in my mind is to teach women how to take their power back, how to know what they want and know how to ask for it. I don’t think our culture can evolve until women are no longer socialised to prioritise everyone else’s happiness and pleasure over their own. It’s hard to even talk about consent in a culture that doesn’t care whether or not women enjoy sex.
Where did the idea to create 'The Pleasure Project' come from?
I started writing my blog 'Diary of a Slutty Feminist' several years ago. And from that I had women telling me I was brave for speaking my truth and talking about things they weren’t comfortable talking about. This made me wonder why these things are still so taboo. Which led me to conduct interviews with a bunch of different women about sex and pleasure and I found that the common denominator for most was shame. I adapted some of the material from those interviews into monologues which I then filtered through the eyes of the aliens, because I was interested in looking at female sexuality from an outside perspective. It’s an easier pill to swallow because the aliens are funny characters and they approach it all from a place of curiosity and humor rather than judgment. Rachel and I wanted the show to be fun and accessible, for women and men, not a scolding lecture about feminism.
Describe the show in a sentence.
Five aliens preparing to leave earth in light of an impending nuclear war pose the question: can the clitoris save humanity?