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Eight Gigabytes Of Hardcore Pornography

Xpress 3

Directed by Lee Lewis
Starring Andrea Gibbs, Steve Rodgers

“I’m so fat…”

The first words out of the mouths of either of the two actors that have been circling the stage as the audience takes its seats. With that statement, Eight Gigabytes Of Hardcore Pornography launches itself into its exploration of the search for a connection with another human being, tripping neatly through a minefield of self-sabotaging behaviour and mental roadblocks, triggering almost all of them along the way.

An unnamed woman (Andrea Gibbs) and an unnamed man (Steve Rodgers), in their 40s, engage in online dating to seek companionship. Both have their own differing motivations and expectations from the potential relationship, both of them are of course lying in their online profiles (as to be expected), and both of them won’t disclose their associated baggage. She is a nurse, has kids and aspirations her credit card can’t uphold. He works in IT, has an unmitigated love for internet porn, an inability to tell the truth, and desires that his wife can’t fulfil. As this strange and fumbling courtship goes on, the audience is given an insight into what this baggage is, as each of the characters is slowly revealed and the expectations of each given closer examination.

Director Lee Lewis brings us a tale of expectations gone awry, as each character gets caught up by what they and others demand. It’s all told against a background of suburbia, literally projecting hopes and almost childish dreams onto a backdrop of Venetian blinds punctuated by simple pieces of music by Rachael Dease. The story manages to be darkly humorous enough to prevent the audience from plunging fully into despair, and it is this humour that is one of the strengths of the piece. The comedic styling of writer Declan Greene manage to undercut what would be a depressing character study, making it both more palatable and the characters more relatable. We laugh with (and, in truth, at) the characters, while empathising with their desperation. It’s a fine balancing act, but one that manages to work.

The performances of Gibbs and Rodgers build on this, both managing to pitch the comedic and dramatic elements just right. It says a lot for Steve Rodgers’ charm that even portraying a porn addicted, lying, self deluded, hypocritical loser the audience can still empathise with him enough to pray for a moment of clarity and redemption from the character. Yet it is Andrea Gibbs that you truly feel for – despite all her character’s bad decisions, despite all the poor risks that she was willing to take, the audience can still feel her pain as she is naked, alone, and vulnerable in the dark.

 

DAVID O’CONNELL