Funny, Filthy, Moving: The Year of Magical Wanking
SYDNEY: Irish performer Neil Watkins combines Jesus, porn and poetry in a provocative one-man show, The Year of Magical Wanking.
One of Ireland’s most exhilarating theatre companies, THISISPOPBABY, brings incendiary performer Neil Watkins to Sydney Theatre with the hit show, The Year of Magical Wanking.
A maverick and a force of nature, Watkins, 33, shares, in hypnotic verse, a searing, honest and devastatingly brave tale of internet porn addiction, Catholic guilt and the journey to happiness.
Is Ireland the ‘theme’ of The Year of Magical Wanking?
I would say the main theme is sex addiction and fear of intimacy, as told through somebody who got into his behaviour as a result of the stigma religion puts on sexual pleasure, amongst other things.
Porn addiction, spirituality, family and art are other themes explored. Yes I’m Irish, and this is absolutely an untold Irish story with Irish charm, references, context and lyricism.
You are critical of Ireland in The Year of Magical Wanking.
I love Ireland. But I’m a bit frustrated with it at times. I don’t wish to give my country a hard time – I’m more interested in making great theatre and telling the stories I need to tell. I would hope that a piece of work like this will achieve what it sets out to do – poke a stick at things, provoke, question and challenge the pervading paradigm of the day. There are still a lot of social problems that perhaps could be helped by understanding sex addiction.
Can you share your porn addiction with us? And would every male, gay or straight, be on porn sites all day if they could?
I don’t think every male would be on porn sites all the time if they could! Guys like to do all sorts of things. Porn addiction, sex addiction manifests a lot of the time in people who may have been sexually abused, or grown up developing an unhealthy view of sex. Although the availability of online porn kind of skews that for many people – which is why this story is such a pertinent, contemporary one. My understanding is that porn becomes an addiction when your life becomes unmanageable and it stops you from forming real relationships.
In the publicity image for the show you’re looking very Jesus-like...
Here’s what I think about Jesus. He’s one of the good guys. He has love for everyone. Everyone.
To me, Jesus is compassion and love. And in my own healing, I’ve had to find compassion for myself and the capacity to forgive myself for irrational judgements I’d borrowed from people who took advantage of me.
The play is about me being honest. And it’s set in my 33rd year. So it was my Jesus Year. And I was consumed by the poetry of this. I wanted to make Jesus accessible to me. And I used his image to say that we are all children of God. We are all worthy of the love of the higher power. And Jesus is the higher power I most identify with growing up in Catholic Ireland.
What will audiences be seeing and hearing in the show?
Well rest assured that the title is a bit of a red herring! I don’t wish to spoil anyone’s fun but there is no wanking in the show. Really, the show is an absolutely honest exploration of my own funny and weird and sad experience of sex addiction as performed by someone who loves performing. And it’s all in poetic verse. And it’s filthy and funny and moving at the same time. Interview by Andrew Shaw
The Year of Magical Wanking, February 14-18, Sydney Theatre, Walsh Bay. Bookings: www.sydneytheatre.com.au.
And as part of the Adelaide Fringe from February 22 - March 18 at the Adelaide College of the Arts, 39 Light Square, Adelaide adelaidefringe.com.au