Philia Philes

17 July 2012 | 6:00 am | Dave Drayton

The Pork Stilleto director Iain Sinclair tells Dave Drayton why any dramatist worth their salt should be expecting a knock on the door from the cops.

On August 6, 1991 the World Wide Web – then still an earth-shattering tech invention that warranted the reverence with which most over-55s still refer to it, as though it requires italics or quotations – first went live. About five minutes later old mate decreed that 'If you can think of it, someone's made a porn about it on the internet.'

Hyperbole perhaps (where is there an adult film on the internet about a scale model of Professor Frink's burglar-proof house [Homer The Vigilante] with its front door replaced by a Fleshlight that is being ravaged by a leopard [constructed from an anatomically-correct, remote-controlled skeletal structure dipped in fondue and left to dry] who is being controlled by a nude scientist, remote in hand), though it proves a point: people get off on just about everything and anything.

On the phone from Rozelle Hospital For The Insane, where rehearsals are taking place for The Pork Stilleto, director Ian Sinclair gives a quick recap of recent discoveries: “We went spent yesterday dealing with the exegesis of people mysophilia, and that's people who can get only get off if their partner hasn't washed for more than four weeks,” he says with a gleeful and sinister laugh that brings to mind Ricky Gervais. “In our research – and I've got to say the Allsopp and Henderson boys [playwrights] have done an astonishing amount of research into all of this – what we seem to be discovering is that there as many –philias as there are words in the Latin dictionary, you know? So pretty much if you find a Latin word, stick it in front of –philia, there's someone who can only get off if there is that. So dendrophilia is people who can only get off if there's a tree present, or that the tree is involved in the sexual activity; there's altocalcicarnephilia, which is people who can only get off if their partner is wearing high heels made out of meat – hence the name Pork Stiletto; mechaniphilia, and as you can imagine, that's cars.”

One of the four ancient Greek words for 'love', the suffix -philia is used to describe an obsessive, often 'unnatural', attraction to something. It's the investigation of such –philias, and their proliferation in the online world, by an ambitious young psychiatrist and her research assistant, that sets the stage for Allsopp and Henderson's (the team behind A Porthole Into The Minds Of The Vanquished and The Jinglists) new black comedy. The investigation of these -philias, all in the name of research mind you, is also what's got Sinclair a little worried about the next knock on his door.

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“It's one of those shows where we've got a pile of research, which is I guess two stories high,” - Sinclair is again audibly relishing this fact - “we're rendering it down into tight little nuggets. We're digging through all of them, finding the most fun ones for drama, and turning them into a thriller is basically what's happening.

“I think any dramatist who does their research is going to be on some fucking criminal intelligence site, somewhere. I'm just waiting for the knock on the door! The knock on the door is either going to be from the cops, or it's going to be from one of these people's website who I've visited who presumes I can only get off if I'm wearing gumboots full of yoghurt.”

The Pork Stiletto runs from Tuesday 17 July until Saturday 11 August at The Old Fitzroy Theatre.