Pig mask photo: Tanja-Tiziana
PIG delves into aspects of life that are frequently venal, unpleasant, disturbing and downright tragic. Luc and Taylor meet online, Stevie and Joe get married in a Civil Partnership, and Pig and Knife are two rent boys exploring their death wish. A play that depicts violent sex and sexual violence, PIG is about punishment, redemption, ownership and sacrifice, self-harm and death-wish, role-play and fantasy, and the eroticism of violence and of HIV-Aids.
As a moving and unsentimental exploration of love and identity, it ventures into unexplored theatrical territory via its themes of love, obsession, dependency and addiction, and reappraises attitudes toward the straight mainstream in general and the advent of civil partnerships in particular. A fierce, brave piece which moves romantic ideal and addictive hell so close together as to be tragically imperceptible. This original and heartfelt play raises gay theatre out of its narrow world and asks the questions that everyone asks who has ever loved another.
It is extremely skilful and intense – and ventures into territory no one else, that I know anyway, is even thinking about in the theatre. On all those accounts, it’s admirable. And it builds powerfully. A tough read but a riveting one. Obsession, of course, is what theatre is all about – and what did the managements make of Women Beware Women when that first turned up?
The more I read it the more substantial it becomes. I know nothing about drugs, and that didn’t seem to be a barrier between me and the characters. I know about love and marriage, that was my way in. What got me was them all revolving around the true Romantic idea of love unto death. Which is an idea that never goes away as far as I’m concerned. The dialogue crackles where it should and also sags where it should, which I like. Larry, Harry and Barry are great, and great counterpoints to the “boys”. They all seem like really good parts, really playable. I hope someone will see how classy it is.
It’s incredibly inventive, formally and thematically, and holds its gaze with unusual tenacity and confidence. I think it’s a fierce, brave piece. The complex morality and dependencies in the relationships between Pig, Knife and Larry, in particular, are very interesting, as is the refusal to specify the motivations of the characters. There are some vivid and well-observed moments in the play, and its study of the pursuit of identity in a world of complicated exchange between reality and fantasy is demanding and original.