“Imagine if a stage was flooded with women talking about their orgasms”
Samuel Sims talks to About Wolves’ Sadie Clark about giving a voice to a taboo subject.
About Wolves will offer a 30 minute preview of their second show, Orgasm, this Sunday at Camden People’s Theatre’s Hotbed: A Festival of Sex. Expect huge vaginas and someone playing a penis. What more could you ask for?
In this abstract, physical theatre piece, actors will offer their own perspective of material taken from hours of interviews. Focussing on the non-cisgendered male orgasm and women in particular, About Wolves aim to highlight the shame attached to opening up about pleasure and how it is time to finally lift the lid and give a two-fingered salute to those who have tried to silence it.
Orgasm looks set to be an exciting and eye-opening experience; both a feast for the eyes and mind. We had a natter with writer, producer and director, Sadie Clark, to find out more.
DIVA: Hi Sadie! Could you tell me more about the company?
We formed a year ago from conversations mainly about the representation of women on stage and that there seemed to be a focus on male cis-gender. The direction theatre appeared to be going at the time was that strong, female characters had to have masculine qualities to be seen as better female roles. What about feminine women and men as well? There's a whole spectrum of people! We came up with the name from a Margaret Atwood quote from The Blind Assassin. It said, "All stories are about wolves" and it made us think that it doesn't matter if you're a man or a woman or non-binary etc, we're a wolf pack. There’s something really nice about the story being the focus, rather than gender.
Where the heck did the idea for Orgasm come from?
I’m so aware that we don’t hear women telling stories about pleasure nearly enough and being part of a feminist group called Wolf Whistled, I knew I wanted to approach people there to participate. There was so much to think about! Not everyone who has a vagina identifies as a woman. How could I frame it as a show about women’s pleasure when there are women who don’t have these things and there are men who do? That’s why I turned to Wolf Whistled as I was worried about using inclusive language. I got some great feedback from someone who asked: “Why not include everyone that is not a cis-gendered man, rather than just targeting one group?” But when I did a callout I only heard back from non-binary people and cis women.
Why do you think you didn’t hear from many LGBTQIA+ people?
We heard from a lot of lesbians and bi people but not many others and especially not transgender.
Do you think some people were afraid of coming forward?
Yes, and also feeling that because I’m a cis-woman. If a cis-man asked to tell my story I don’t know how comfortable I’d feel about that so it’s trying to put myself in shoes of someone with particular experience. Orgasm covers so much and more broad than say, doing a one-woman show about coming out as trans, which I wouldn’t personally feel comfortable doing as I would be appropriating a voice. Also another idea we’ve had going forward with Orgasm, is getting trans-creatives involved and they’d have more of a say in the piece.
What can an audience expect from Orgasm?
Well we haven’t gone down a traditional route of actors listening to and imitating – it’s much more exciting than that. There’s clowning elements, a big vagina on stage, someone plays a penis - so it’s very abstract! It’s very open but in no way replicating anybody. There’s chance for feedback too.
What sort of people do you want to watch Orgasm?
I’d really like to engage school kids ideally aged between 14 and 18 as think it’d be a struggle getting younger than 16. Hopefully it will appeal to the LGBTQIA+ community and it would be especially nice to get people who think it is a really taboo subject and change their minds or have people come that are really ashamed of something, see a reflection of themselves, and then that one person confessing: “I really like this.”
About Wolves clearly feel strongly about ridding future generations of sex and pleasure associated shame and educating them on acceptance. This looks set to be a corker with a strong message for all ages: don’t mute our orgasm.
A preview of Orgasm will be showing at the Camden People’s Theatre this Sunday 30 April as part of Hotbed: A Festival of Sex.
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