Christopher Green on Prurience and porn

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - 14:30

Prurience is the latest immersive entertainment piece from celebrated writer and performer Christopher Green. Ahead of it’s appearance at Southbank Centre in July, we sat down with Green to discuss the work and its themes.

We've billed you as a writer and performer, but we're conscious you prefer to see yourself as an entertainer. What do you consider the role of an entertainer to be?

To disrupt, wake up, shake up, and reassure under the illusion of a good time.

That would certainly be applicable to Prurience, can you tell us a little more about it?

Prurience is an experiential show about being addicted to pornography, where the action takes place around you. You can influence the action or just watch it happen.

Such a subject breeds an inevitable follow-up question, which we should probably ask, if only to get it out the way. So, are you yourself obsessed with porn?

I’m not obsessed with porn, but I’m obsessed with obsession; with all the things in our lives that it’s easy to overdo if you’re not conscious about your consumption. From food to shopping to social media, it’s endless. Pornography is a very direct way to discuss all of this.  It used to be something private but now I don’t think we have the luxury to regard it as something that we can not discuss.

So, in researching the show, was there then a need to watch a lot of pornography, to give an authenticity to its characters?

I didn’t watch a lot of porn, but I did do a lot of research into addiction. This piece isn’t about the specifics of pornography. There are so many documentaries that helpfully talk about this as a serious subject whilst putting lots of pornographic images in front of our retinas. This seems crazy to me, porn is not hard to access, we don’t need soft-porn masquerading as information. If you’re coming to Prurience looking for mild titillation, I suspect you will leave frustrated.

We’re sure no-one will be leaving this performance frustrated, but do you worry at all that people will think you're poking fun at self-help groups through Prurience?

I don’t worry about it because I know I’m not, and I am a great fan of the Twelve Step programme especially. I think coming together with people in a similar situation is one of the most powerful things you can do. But this piece is not about The Twelve Steps, or any other form of therapy, it’s about a specific organisation and their methods.

You've done a lot of interesting research with the Wellcome Collection about how the brain is changing in our screen obsessed world. If you could give one takeaway lesson from this work, what would it be?

That our brains are plastic. They can easily change by repeatedly doing an action, which is how addictions become addictions, but they can also change the other way as well. It may feel like you are stuck, but our brains are happy to change if we help them do it.

Lastly then, how do you think Prurience will be received? What do you think the audience will feel after their experience with the show?

Exhilarated, hopeful, slightly confused about the nature of reality and with the sense that, however remote, change is always possible.

Part politician, part shaman, part sociologist, part healer, but you’ll happily only focus on the fact that he’s an entertainer.
The Guardian on Christopher Green

Prurience is performed in Royal Festival Hall’s Blue Room from 18-30 July as part of Summertime

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