Porn, parenting and peer pressure.
Without sex we wouldn’t exist.
Without sex I wouldn’t have a son
Why can’t we talk to our young people about how sex and relationships work?
A million love songs later and we still don’t have the vocabulary to explain the things that actually matter to the people who need to hear it the most?
Punching The Sky has been on quite a journey.
Starting life as Slap – a scratch performance with a cast of 5 shared at West Yorkshire Playhouse’s Playground back in December 2013, the show has morphed from blogpost to major news story to personal performance to fully fledged theatre piece.
The overwhelming national and international reaction to my original blog article picked up by The Independent, Newsnight and in Westminster and the interest in the subsequent two development phases for this show proved there is a significant and continuing public and industry interest in examining the wider issues around online pornography, raised through a very personal story. The subject is still very much in the media and continues to be the focus of furious debate everywhere from within the home to school staff rooms to Westminster.
But it’s easy to become blasé, to ‘switch off’ when the news repeatedly intones the devastating facts and figures, especially when the subject has been examined with no discernible consensus or tangible hope of an answer or advice that we can implement.
What’s the answer? What do we do? We hear it again and again. ‘The horse has bolted’ ‘What about free speech?’ ‘The internet should be switched off’ ‘Don’t give kids smart phones, tablets, computers’, ‘Make the ISP’s responsible’ ‘The parents are responsible’ ‘The porn companies are to blame’ – and round and round we go.
So what can we do? Well, we can tell stories, help people to be aware of moments that change lives, connect with real people, real feelings, kids that find themselves pressurised into looking at images/videos they are in no way ready for, in no way equipped to deal with before they’ve even had a first clumsy kiss. And through telling those stories we each become personally connected to the issues and involved in each other’s lives.
So Punching The Sky examines the issues through the lens of a real story, and gently takes us towards the quiet devastation that one swipe of a smartphone button can wreak, onwards to the fallout for the child and his parents, the media interest and ends with a ‘what next?’
Punching the Sky is at Live Theatre, Newcastle at 7.30pm on Wednesday 9 March. It is suitable for ages 16+ and contains strong language with sexual references. For more information and tickets costing from £14-£10, over 60s concessions £12 and other concessions £6 see www.live.org.uk.