ARTIST PASS // LAUREL DEVENIE

We catch up with director Laurel Devenie to talk to her about Eight Gigabytes of Hardcore Pornography and her debut with Silo Theatre.

1. This is your first time directing for Silo Theatre. Can you tell us a bit about how you were approached to direct Eight Gigabytes of Hardcore Pornography, what it has been like to work with the Silo team and how you felt taking on the project?

Sophie asked me last year to direct this play and I was really excited about it - I found the piece challenging, confronting and human. Each time I read it, it offered up new things. I have loved working with the Silo team - they are small and perfectly formed. It is a company with huge integrity, heart and courage. I have appreciated that Jess, Sophie, Helen and Tim are all fully aware and involved with the creation of the work and contribute to it in different ways. Everyone is on the same page. Brave, smart and human.

2. What’s one of your favourite lines from the show … and can you give us any insight into it?

"I will try things that hurt me, and I will keep trying them until they don't."

I think this sums up a desperate need to be loved / to fit in / to please someone / to reduce oneself in order to get the approval / love / attention of someone else. It can read as extremely desperate and pathetic as well as being something we can all relate to in a moment of need and weakness. I think it illustrates the lengths we will go to to be liked / admired / accepted. We are in a strange time where there is so much desperate reaching out to be seen to be a certain way - to be seen to be accepting / intelligent / willing / trendy etc.

3. What discoveries / challenges / surprises have you had in the process of putting the show together?

There's always a question of how to present characters who are telling us their stories - how much do they show / how much do they just tell / how do the characters present their stories. I think in this play one of the big questions is why the characters choose to tell us the parts of the stories that they tell. Those choices reveal so much about them. For us, it was a process of asking what they needed of the audience, why they were speaking, why they were revealing themselves and justifying themselves. When are they being honest? When are they lying? In the context of so much of our contemporary modes of communicating and presenting ourselves to other people we are dealing with these questions in ourselves all the time - which photos do we choose to show / what shall we write as our status / how will we describe our profile - we are constantly being asked to present ourselves intimately to an invisible mass audience of our 'friends' or strangers.

4. Who should people come see the show with? Is it a good bring the parents kind of play, first date, family?

I think this is a play for people in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s - I think it appeals to a broad range of people as it presents very openly two characters with undeniable flaws which we are forced to consider and in some moments recognise aspects whether we choose to admit it or not. Maybe not the kids for this one.

5. What do you hope audiences will come away having experienced from Eight Gigabytes of Hardcore Pornography?

A good laugh and a good cry. It is an uncomfortable journey. In some moments we are laughing, then we are cringing, and then we are cringing because we are laughing. I hope it asks us about how we judge ourselves and other people. I hope it asks empathy from an audience who didn't perhaps expect to feel it.

6. What was your last Q Theatre experience and what was it like?

I saw An Awfully Big Adventure (Capital E) a few months ago and loved the show so much. It was surprising and shocking and nice to see a Wellington show in there.


Eight Gigabytes of Hardcore Pornography
Jun 18 - Jul 11 // BOOK HERE

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