Intelligent, funny, engaging… they’re all sexy elements, and ones that can be found in the Sydney Theatre Company’s production of Sex With Strangers.
The play stars Ryan Corr as a twenty-something blogger and Jacqueline McKenzie as a thirty-something novelist who are stranded together at a wintery writer’s retreat. Described as an intergenerational love story in a digital age, there’s more to this play than we see in the title.
After falling for Sex with Strangers, we chatted to Ryan Corr about love in a digital age.
Sex With Strangers looks at both intergenerational relationships, and the way relationships have adapted in a digital age. How do you think technology has changed the way we conduct our romantic lives?This is a very topical issue and I think it depends on an individual’s usage within these social medias. It has made us more accessible. Even having just met a person, they now have the ability to request you as a ‘Friend’ on Facebook or follow you on twitter etc and continue a virtual contact. Gone are the days where getting a phone number or organizing another meeting with someone are the most active way of staying in communication.
There is no context to virtual media. No face to face connection, vocal tone or mood. I believe it’s harder to get to know a person this way. It reduces the choice to divulge information about one’s personal life or past or romantic history by choice, having it accessible and readily available on something like ‘timeline’.
We are still learning and are in the midst of how social media is affecting the way we relate and romantic relationships. It’s my view that we should use caution, reserve judgment for having a person in front of you and use social media as a communication tool and not a magazine front cover for your life. Call me old fashioned!
The play pits a blogger against a traditional author. Do you believe the medium someone chooses to write in affects their craft? And if so, how?
I do believe so. If the audience changes, the style of writing and the craft does too. The way in which it affects the writing depends on the medium.
Blogging for example is something I personally am not very active in, but do know it provides a constantly updated and consistent flow of information and writing. A blog’s audience is regular and consistent also. By nature, the speed in which such writing is created, the consistent way in which it is updated and continual hunger from its audience consuming it, the craft and style is changed.
Sites like Amazon and Smashwords which provide a platform for writers to share their work to a wide audience and get exposure are different again; and perhaps don’t change a writers craft as much. In a similar way a site like: tumbler doesn’t necessarily change a photographer’s vision, but expands their audience. A differing audience changes a craft.
Speaking of mediums… you’re known for your TV and film work. What is it like treading the boards of the STC for the first time?
Similarly to the above question; the craft changes depending on the audience you’re communicating to. In film and television there are variables such as speed of production, rehearsal period, communicating to a lens as opposed to a live audience. Being on stage in front of a large audience at STC has been very exciting. There is a silent dialogue between performers and audience. The way in which a performance changes, albeit subtly, to communicate this story to an audience that are there in front of you has been exciting and challenging. There are no cuts, no take twos, you walk out and ride the wave of that particular night. It is the magic of live theatre.
Sex with Strangers in particular, being a two hander with very little “off stage” time has been a huge growing experience for me personally and creatively. Working with Jacqueline, who is an exceptional actor, meeting her eyes on a nightly basis, on stage, in front of an audience and telling this story is just one of the many wonderful parts of being involved in this production.
Your character, Ethan, is a blogger who became a bestselling novelist through his book Sex With Strangers. Are you a fan of blogs yourself, and why do you think bloggers are becoming so popular and, in some cases, powerful?
Blogging as I mentioned earlier is instantaneous. As a medium blogs can cover many subjects and interests, they provide a medium for people with shared interests to communicate and discuss directly and efficiently. A strong following and large audience of people is always powerful. It allows people to share ideas and gather knowledge. The ability to be able to communicate in such a way freely, tailoring an individual’s interests into niche groups I believe will always be popular.
I look on and am a fan of blogs like Reddit and Khan Academy as there are many things on them that interest me and I use for entertainment.
The Wharf is a great theatre but not many know the best places to eat before or after a show. What are some of your favourite places to get a bite to eat around the Wharf?
Sydney Dance Café (below the theatre) has been a major source for food for me throughout the rehearsals and production period. Fratelli Fresh does a mean pasta across the road and of course the Bar at the End of the Wharf at Sydney Theatre Company does an awesome chicken quinoa salad, hot chips and mushroom bruschetta!
When you’re not at work, where do you like to grab brunch or eat out with friends in Sydney?
I stay pretty local usually, Crown Street: Surry Hills have many amazing café’s I love to eat at. I keep it varied depending on what I feel like. Bills on Crown does my favourite eggs! I Also love some places in Erskineville for a coffee and a catch up!
Sex With Strangers with Ryan Corr and Jacqueline McKenzie is at Sydney Theatre Company’s Wharf theatre until the 24th November 2012. Tickets start from $40.