by Andy Harmsen (Revolt Artspace Melbourne March 6 – March 16 2013)
Written By Andy Harmsen
Directed by Alan Chambers
"It blurs the line between the grotesque and the slightly transcendental in a thick, tongue-in-cheek, dangerous wit’.
‘The Martyrs is a very ambitious first-production by director Alan Chambers and writer Andy Harmsen …
they have ultimately created an entertaining and reflective piece of theatre."
The Martyrs is a pitch-black comedy about the collision of evangelical Christianity and pornography. The story takes place in Melbourne just as an enormous Adult Convention rolls into town. The flock of a local evangelical ministry, ‘The Earthquakers’, takes to the streets in order to denounce ‘the filth’ and ‘the smut’ in the name of children everywhere. The media are calling it a ‘Crusade’ but, heck, Jesus loves Pornstars and wankers too.
Two fearless youth pastors, Pastor Mike and Pastor Troy, are on a mission to protect the hearts and minds of ‘youths’ everywhere. Mike is ready to detonate: on television, on twitter, playing to a packed houses at tri-weekly rock sermons. Troy is wavering; unsure and insecure with himself, his faith and his yearning to impress his charismatic colleague. During a chance meeting, Troy finds himself infatuated with a beguiling adult screenwriter who wanders the convention floor in search of a good time. It’s only a matter of time before things get complicated.
In the meantime, a young evangelical couple are dealing with a cardboard box of illicit Polaroids in a glory-box, hidden in their basement. The young wife is aghast, convinced that this will destroy their marriage. They need help and Pastor Mike, with the help of the ‘The Earthquakers’, are the only people who can save their tenuous relationship. Mike and Troy are to the rescue.
A teenage boy suffers from a painful erection that won’t seem to go away. His mother is kicking and screaming, convinced her beautiful son is addicted to porn. He’s lazy, lethargic and won’t leave his room. Surely the problem is pornography.
Into this mix of do-gooders, smut-purveyors and the holy innocent lurks the horrors of child abuse and the profound challenges facing the faith business in Australia today. As the Australian public is brought to the boil on internet censorship and the growing concern over child abuse in the church, The Martyrs takes a bleakly comic glance at the interwoven mass of political, personal and sexual interests that fight for supremacy in the spiritual marketplace.
The Martyrs is an absurd, pitch-black comedy about Australian mega-churches and the hot, often misunderstood topic of pornography. It’s about the collision of corporate faith and secularism, child abuse and disavowal and the sometimes hysterical way we try to negotiate the often tortured relationship between God and sex.
David Ryan Kinsman
Sound Design & Composition - Andy Harmsen
Lighting Design - Ryan Hodge
Stage Manager - Matthew Wagstaff
Sound Operator - Trevor Chambers
Photographs - Madz Rehorek
SLY RAT THEATRE CO THE MARTYRS BY ANDY HARMSEN by Amy Struss (Theatre.asn)
‘It blurs the line between the grotesque and the slightly transcendental in a thick, tongue-in-cheek, dangerous wit’.
‘Harmsen’s script goes to brave, confronting and hilariously human levels to attack something very current. Chambers’ direction drags it, kicking and screaming, into the fascinatingly theatrical. The team have concocted something very alien: strangely familiar and shockingly new and hilarious’.
‘The Martyrs brings art and politics together in a bold and fiercely entertaining way’.
REVIEW: SLY RAT THEATRE PRESENTS THE MARTYRS by Myron My (Theatre Press)
‘Despite the heavy themes, it somehow manages to create a great balancing act between being horrifying and humorous’.
‘The Martyrs is a very ambitious first-production by director Alan Chambers and writer Andy Harmsen … they have ultimately created an entertaining and reflective piece of theatre’.