Julkaisemme SARVin (Suomen arvostelijain liiton) tanssi- ja teatterijaoksen englanninkielisen kritiikkikurssin satoa. Kurssi järjestetään Baltic Circle -festivaalin yhteydessä ja sen opettajana toimii arvostettu skotlantilainen kriitikko Mark Brown.
I’m on a bus. An attractive stewardess is whispering in my ear: ”Do you have a boyfriend? Do you like porn?” Setting the mood, I guess. We’re going to an abandoned movie theatre in Porvoo to see Porn of Pure Reason by Pekko Koskinen and Markus Öhrn.
First we’re introduced to some samples of porn imagery, starting from basic intercourse and leading to bondage. Öhrn is narrating the situation in a very theatrical way, I’m not quite sure if we should take it seriously or not. A guy in the audience starts to laugh hysterically and the laughter spreads fast. Maybe it’s a defence against the images or maybe it’s a protest: ”I don’t give a sh*t about whatever it is you’re trying to do here”.
The second scene, in another hall, is purely an attempt of provocation. Some of the audience members leave. I’m waiting to feel something, as I know, based on a discussion about the work earlier the same day, that the show’s creators want us to have an instinctive response: whether it be arousal, disgust or shame. Just to be sure that we get the point, the ugly scene is repeated in slow motion. I find myself watching other people instead, but can’t really tell what their feelings are.
The third scene takes us to soft mattresses and beanbag chairs to listen to the sounds of coitus in darkness. Lying there I realize that I’m rather thirsty. A woman in the audience is humming a tune by herself.
In between the scenes we’re left in the darkness for a while. Perhaps that’s the moment we’re supposed to look inside and really reflect upon our emotions. I’m just waiting for something to actually happen.
Afterwards we’re given some wine with the words: ”We’re not going to torture you anymore”. So is this what the whole thing was about? Torturing us? Why would you want to do that?
Since I’ve invested four hours of my time, including the bus ride to Porvoo, I would have wanted to be provoked, disgusted, amused, aroused or shamed. I would have wanted to get a glimpse of a statement from the show’s creators.
In the beginning we are told that the performance will happen in our heads, no other performance will be given. So why are we brought here in the first place? I could just have watched porn at home.