Why is writing about sex so tricky as a woman? Laura Mead recounts her own sexual faux-pas on her way to exploring them onstage in new play Vanilla, premiering at Tristan Bates Theatre in a one-week run from 24 to 29 September 2018. Also, check out the show’s brand-new teaser trailer and sneak a peek into rehearsals with the three young stars. Time to get booking!
“I swear I will never get you guys. Literally. All you ever do is talk about a woman jumping all over your cock. Yet when you have one, you’d rather have a threesome with David Bowie and a Stuffed-Crust Texas Barbeque.”
Katie and Dan have been seeing each other for a while now, but they are yet to consummate the relationship. The timing has just never been quite… Right? Tonight, Dan has a free-house. Katie is sure that he is ‘The One’. After all, he’s been practising putting on a condom all afternoon.
Pizza, Netflix and chill… and the hope of raunchy sex hangs in the air. After all, that’s what they both want. Isn’t it? Welcome to an age where our sex lives really belong to the Internet.
Vanilla follows Laura Mead‘s debut play, Liberate, seen earlier this year at the White Bear and Etcetera Theatres. The premiere is presented by FlipSide Productions, co-founded by Mead and director Keith Swainston.
Laura Mead on… Writing Vanilla
Writing about sex is always a bit tricky. Especially as a woman. It’s hard not to sound cliched or as though you’re trying to do your best Caitlin Moran impression. It’s also hard not to sound like a raging slut with an air-head and a high sex-drive. I always find that what I know now about sex in my older, more researched years is never as fascinating as what I thought I knew in my teenage years (and how little I actually did).
When I was just nine years old, I found my first dose of ‘porn’ footage lying about. I didn’t go looking for it – rather it found me. But I saw it. At an age where I was still venturing to Brownies and learning my times-tables, I saw my first naked couple experience. I was disgusted and intrigued all at the same time.
At the age of eleven, I was given some vital information regarding blowjobs: “it’s where you put a willy in your mouth – but don’t actually blow on it. Because if you blow on it, you’ll paralyse the man whose willy you’ve got hold of.” My first blowjob was mostly me holding my breath and gumming pathetically at a penis, petrified that I would paralyse the poor chap should I accidentally let out a breath.
At the age of fourteen, ‘spit or swallow?’ was asked of me on numerous occasions at school. I didn’t understand, so I shrugged and answered swallow one day. Apparently, this was hilarious. And disgusting. And made me an outcast. Who knew?!
By the age of nineteen, I experienced the sex phenomenon of ‘porn sex’. ‘Rough. Porn. Sex.’ I had seen a few videos and knew what was expected of me. I learnt how to grin and bear it, and I made noises in all of the appropriate gaps/pauses for appreciation. Whenever I forgot what I was supposed to do, I ventured back to porn. Porn was my God for those few short years.
My new play Vanilla is 50 minutes long. It’s an exploration into friendships, intimacy, sex and boundaries. It’s an exploration of what happens when a woman instigates the intimate moments in a relationship. It’s an exploration into how far we have to go to validate ourselves. It asks us just how vanilla is ‘too vanilla’ for us? Is ‘vanilla sex’ really a bad thing?
Vanilla runs 24 to 29 September 2018 at Tristan Bates Theatre, 1A Tower Street, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9NP. Performances (50 minutes) run Monday to Friday at 6.15pm, with a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm. Tickets are priced £10 (concessions £8). CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!
Ned Wakeley and Therica Wilson-Read star as Dan and Katie, alongside Joshua Beecham as Nick. Vanilla is directed by Keith Swainston.