This playful, immersive look at how sex and pornography are consumed makes its US debut at Works & Process at the Guggenheim following a successful run at the Southbank Centre in London. More…
Created by British writer-performer Christopher Green after interviewing neuroscientists, sociologists, addiction experts, and therapists, 'Prurience' invites audiences to attend a fictional self-help group. Through increasingly distorting layers of reality and theatricality, the play forces you to consider if society is in the grip of an actual addiction or a moral panic. Expect witty observations, and surprises.
"A tricky, mutable, overstuffed performance piece...A few too many forms and subjects...It felt usefully uncomfortable to listen to real people sharing their own stories and a lot more comfortable and less useful to hear actors recite monologues. The actors’ content was more extreme — borderline prurient — but the form was a lot safer, the messaging obvious...A more daring piece might have explored compulsion and control and, yes, lascivious trepidation, without using actors at all." Full Review
"The structure and illusion doesn't always hold. It's not that the subject matter is uncomfortable. It's that the presentation of it is awkward and annoying in its lack of truth. The sad punch line is that no one gets any help. In that way there is no drama. Only emotional presentation. There are confessions but no conclusions. Like a bad overlong sketch with no ending in sight the session quickly devolves into an overlong, overlapping, extremely grating shouting match." Full Review
for a previous production “Green plays this character incredibly well…The really outstanding thing with this piece is the structure, and the piece being so immersive really lends itself to what Green is setting out to achieve..Green also makes some beautiful points about conscious consumption, the abundance of pornography and the access and availability to it...The points, however, feel slightly rushed within the piece overall, as the structure demands so much of your attention.” Full Review
for a previous production "Christopher Green's sly self-help satire...It's a neat spoof of support groups – those cults of lukewarm psychobabble...What, Green makes you ask, is genuine here? What's constructed? 'Prurience' plays with that and if, at first, the glitch from participatory event to scripted play feels like a let-down, it proves far more slippery and self-aware...A deeply uncertain and unsettling experience; one that gets right to the core of contemporary life." Full Review
for a previous production "A clever and discomforting exploration of consumption – compulsive and conscious – in late stage capitalism...It also contains an immaculate coup de theatre, in which layers of illusion are built up and pared back before a big reveal...What appears at first to be an insensitive, albeit entertaining, parody of therapy and addiction becomes something richer as levels of distortion and audience expectations are subtly managed." Full Review
for a previous production "It’s often very funny and genuinely discomforting, largely because the dramaturgy is much sharper and tighter. It immediately solves the crucial central problem of so much immersive theatre in justifying our presence in the piece...'Prurience' doesn’t entirely succeed in keeping all the balls in the air, but at its fiendish, exhilarating best it makes you question not just attitudes to porn but how we experience reality." Full Review
for a previous production "A disorientating, provocative experience...It’s also funny and shrewd, throwing up questions about the commodification of everything from sex to depression, and exploring the blurred boundaries between fantasy, performance, and reality...While the issues of consumption and alienation are familiar, theatrically the piece is audacious...At times I longed to flee, yet this is the kind of art that leaves its mark on you. Unnerving, and uncomfortably compelling." Full Review
for a previous production "What pushes this beyond zeitgeisty navel-gazing, aside from the metafictional games, is that Green levels his critique just as much at therapy itself...He’s to be admired for tackling this painfully taboo subject. That ‘Prurience’ doesn’t cohere into anything with clear conclusions might be its greatest strength–for me, it made for half-complete theatre. But if you’re in two minds about buying a ticket and joining the group, I suggest you do." Full Review
See it if you want to participate (actively or passively) in a sly & adroitly enacted addiction therapy session/meta-theatre performance art piece.
Don't see it if you aren't comfortable being uncomfortable in a perfectly simulated "new age" group therapy session & hearing frank discussions of sex/porn.
See it if You enjoy immersive theatre this is one of the best I’ve ever experienced. It seamlessly sneaks up on you to inform and you’ll have fun too.
Don't see it if You are uncomfortable being out of control. This is a great experience but you need to play Ali g and let it happen. You can’t be in charge.
See it if you enjoy immersive shows. You're open to new experiences w/no idea where you'll end up, or long for something new & different in theater.
Don't see it if u want traditional theater or dislike immersive shows, tho u can sit in back/not participate. U dislike any sex talk, even small amounts
See it if you want a fantastically creative immersive piece of theatre, you will be self-reflecting afterward, but laughing throughout the smart play
Don't see it if you want a traditional theatre piece - be prepared to be immersed & to participate. Porn addiction is 'a' subject so be wise.
See it if you want to see an immersive show where you don't know who's acting and who's not. Well staged, very clever, and incredibly strange!
Don't see it if you want a simple/straightforward play, or are not ready to hear about adult topics (though the porn discussions weren't too graphic imo).
See it if Mysterious play about a porno support group.I was hoodwinked believing it was a support group.Lots of fun, eclectic cast. & interactive
Don't see it if You don't like to hear obscene & raunchy language
See it if you like the idea of a performance in the form of a therapy session, like figuring out actors vs overeager audience members
Don't see it if you don't like participatory theatre and actors talking to you, and/or the subject of pornography and addiction makes you uncomfortable
See it if You enjoy immersive performance of contemporary edgy themes where the line blues between actor and audience.
Don't see it if You are uncomfortable with sexual topics and prefer a normal theater experience of audience separate from the actors.
See it if you want a one-of-a-kind theatrical experience, don't mind participation, and feel comfortable with sexual topics
Don't see it if you want a traditional sit-down experience, are intensely uncomfortable participating, or don't like plays with sexual themes
See it if You like to be shaken out of your comfort zone. The beginning is super awkward but by the end you’ll understand why
Don't see it if You like more conventional theater and don’t like to be made uncomfortable
See it if You want to be immersed in a group that includes obvious actors playing roles with specific viewpoints on pornography
Don't see it if You want more than to be surrounded by others who share the question "what are we doing here?"
See it if You enjoy "audience as actors." You like super experimental theater and want to be INVOLVED in the show.
Don't see it if You don't like excruciating moments of just waiting because an audience member has to step up and do something. See below for more.
Get alerts about your favorite artists and theater companies