‘5 Guys Chillin’’ by Peter Darney is an intense play, performed at the King’s Head Theatre, Angle, that confronts the ideas of what a ‘Chillout’ or ‘Chemsex Party’ is.
The play consists of only five characters and is performed in the round. The audience literally sits on the floor in the performing area with the cast. Gaining first hand experience over numerous interviews with men who use the social networking app Grindr, each character was developed. This results in characters that are extremely believable. Combining this with the intimacy of the performance, the piece become enlightening and self reflective with regards to your personal experience to this situation.
I am not going to dwell on the narrative of this production because I am more concerned with relating this research to my project, which is raising awareness of the risks of chemsex to the participant’s personal health.
The five strangers have never met before all in the same circumstance. The party has been initiated over Grindr and it is very clear from the start that this is a ‘chillout’.
The drugs that the men use are the common drugs used at these shorts of parties. Firstly snorting Mephedrone, secondly drinking a shot of GHB/GBL, and final smoking and injecting or slamming Cyrstal Methamphetamine.
The men deliver a series of short monologues through the performance. From these it become clear as to their thoughts and view on chemsex. Most of the men have a relaxed concern towards HIV. They openly admit that the drugs they are using lower their apprehension to perform safe sex. Two of the characters open up about getting into situation where they have not had choice in the sexual acts they had had to perform at chemsex parties, resulting in catching the virus. One character admits it is easier to know you have the virus than to be constantly worried you may get infected.
The interaction of the diverse characters reveals many issues not often brought to light in the gay community. Consequently this did reflect in the plausibility of what I felt the performance was trying to portray, however I have to remember my understanding of this topic is more conscious of what is going on. To other members of the audience this is probably an insight to a world they are separate from. Nevertheless the characters spoke out about how this lifestyle does affect other aspects of their life directly. Deteriorating their relationships, sexual health, mental health and work aspiration.
Although this performance was fictitious, the research that it was developed upon is completely credible. Therefore it is a good foundation to gain and influence some of my primary research for this project.