Artist Statement on Content Warnings for The Ugly
We are Phoebe Sullivan and Joe Paradise Lui and we are the co-creators of The Ugly.
We set out to make a work that explores the confusing and difficult territories that can sometimes lie behind the things and people we do and don’t desire. These territories more often than not include the uncomfortable intersections of race and gender.
While the work deals with these ideas in fun, satirical, and outrageous ways, we also wanted to properly communicate the scope of these concepts in the work. We want audiences who might have had traumatic experiences, or simply feel like they might not be in the correct space to grapple with these ideas, to have all the information they need to make a choice.
As makers, we both feel supported by one another to explore these themes but we want to make sure our audiences have a safe experience during the show.
So – if you want to experience the work spoiler free, we recommend you stop reading now (however do read the content warnings on our event page!) But, if you feel like you would like specific details of the kinds of misogyny or racism in the work (and there is… a lot), please read on.
References to Misogyny
- Scenes depicting the uncomfortable spaces that can exist behind a “yes”:
- Joe tells Phoebe, “You look real pretty down on the ground for me like that…”
- There is a back and forth that takes the form of Phoebe saying she “might change her mind” in a playful manner, Joe says “No, no mind changing”
- Phoebe refers to herself as being sexually conquered by men she sleeps with
- Grooming & predatory behaviour such as:
- “When he tells you you’re so mature for your age”
- “When you ask the next hot young thing for their number when you have power over them”
References to racial violence and slurs
- Joe refers to himself as a “Sexless Yellow Clown”
- Racial dynamics within sexual scenes – “bow down baby, Kowtow”
- References to historical examples of racist violence – “No dogs or Chinese”, “Chinese men in the gold rush being hung by their braids”, or the bombings of Chinese Restaurants
- References to internalised racism, “you’re almost white, aren’t you?”
References to sex and sexual practices including BDSM and kink
- We’re talking about sex like … all the time
- Every scene pretty much is in some way about sex
- We depict scenes that express various dom/sub dynamics including race play – “your tiny little dick…” etc, and male domination – “Crawl for me… spread your legs… ” etc.