Behind the Scenes: Volpone XXX

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Marketing is tough. Marketing for busy, fickle students is tougher. Marketing for busy, fickle students who are over-saturated and under-whelmed by flyers is toughest. But, it’s a worthwhile challenge.

There are a couple of options of how to market a play for Oxford students.

a.       The Phallus. Everywhere and all the time with the in-out missionary job of printing a shed-load of flyers and posters.  

b.      The Vagina. Complex, hard to figure out, but once conquered, very rewarding. More recent examples include tarot cards, origami swans and floor chalking.

c.       The Arse-hole. “Only 35 tickets left. Get yours now!” Right. It’s 0th week.

Or, you put these options together in a variety of exciting positions.

The first line of our marketing plan was: “sex is a highly marketable asset.” Cooped up teenagers in close proximity with no parents result in copious amounts of copulation. Our way to exploit this without causing public outrage (except perhaps from the Christian Union) is customised condoms. The theory goes that because a condom is so useful, it won’t get thrown away like the plethora of paper flyers destined for the recycling bin. Throwing a condom away would be like throwing away a banana or an umbrella or a USB pen.

We have 500 customised condom matchbooks which are being dispersed like sexually transmitted wildfire around Oxford as you read. Condoms, however, are rather small, and putting a flyer’s worth of information on a prophylactic seemed ridiculous. So we reneged to partake in option a. But, we’re avoiding the missionary position. Volporne XXX is set in the pornography industry, an industry whose marketing is notorious for the high calibre of its witty titles and sophisticated artwork. It’s an industry whose idiosyncratic branding gave us the opportunity to use our flyers as  “movie posters” for our hero Volporne’s latest hit productions.

 Cue ‘Cumbeline’, ‘Tits Andronicus’, ‘Measure for Pleasure’, ‘It’s Okay She’s a Whore’ and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Cream.’ And a huge discount from Stuprint who, after being sent the artwork, replied with an offer of free express delivery and some wonderfully unprofessional suggestions of their own:“CoriolANUS” and ‘Homeo and Juliet.’

So why have we chosen to put this classic play in a setting so seemingly incongruous, and so full of potential for gross miscommunication? Because we’re pretty sure people will be surprised by just how congruous it is, and by the genius of a script that simultaneously illuminates and is illuminated by its modern context. We’re willing to trust that people will make up their mind about this interpretation only once they’ve seen the glowing set and the dance routines, the jazz band and the unique score, the gripping plot and the complex characters. After all, we aren’t staging a porno. Volpone is a dark comedy written by Ben Jonson, one of the heftiest titans in the canon of English Literature, which we are setting in the pornography industry. And it’s pronounced Vol-poor-nay. Not Val-pohn, not Vole-porn. There are no voles. 

Volpone XXX is in the Keble O’Reilly in 7th Week

 

Marketing is tough. Marketing for clever, arsybusy, fickle students is tougher. Marketing for clever, arsybusy, fickle students who are over-saturated and under-whelmed by flyers is toughest. But,  it’s a  fun worthwhile challengejob..

 

There are a couple of options of of how to market a play for Oxford students.

 

a.       The Phallus. Everywhere and all the time with the in-out missionary job of printing a shed-load of flyers and posters. 

 

b.      The Vagina. Complex, hard to figure out, but once conquered, very rewarding. More recent examples include tarot cards, origami swans and floor chalking.

 

c.       The Arse-hole. “Only 35 tickets left. Get yours now!” Right. It’s 0th week.

 

Or, you put these options together in a variety of exciting positions.

 

The first line of our mMarketing planbid was: “sex is a highly marketable asset.” Cooped up teenagers in close proximity with no parents result in copious amounts of copulation. Our way to exploit this without causing public outrage (except perhaps from the Christian Union) is customised condoms. We are banking on theThe theory goes fact that because a condom is so useful, it won’t get thrown away like the plethora of paper flyers destined for the recycling bin. Throwing a condom away would be like throwing away a banana, or an umbrella or a USB pen.

 

We have 500 customised condom matchbooks which are being dispersed like sexually transmitted wildfire around Oxford as you read.

 

Condoms, however, are rather small, and putting a flyer’s worth of information on a prophylactic seemed ridiculous. So we reneged to partake in option a. But, we’re avoiding the missionary position. Volporne XXX is set in the pornography industry, an industry whose marketing is notorious for the high calibre of its its witty titles and sophisticated artwork. And, It’s  an industry whose idiosyncratic branding gave us the opportunity to use our flyers as  “movie posters” for our hero Volporne’s latest hit productions.

 

Cue ‘Cumbeline’, ‘Tits Andronicus’, ‘Measure for Pleasure’, ‘It’s Okay She’s a Whore’ and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Cream.’

 

AlongsideAnd a huge discount from Stuprint who, after being sent the artwork, replied with an offer of free express delivery and some wonderfullyhighly unprofessional suggestions of their own:“CoriolANUS” and ‘Homeo and Juliet.’

 

But, heading down the dark dank alleyway of pornography has not been an easy ride all the way through. We had a very awkward moment when a bold auditionee sent in some explicit photos, we’ve seen our “Do you want to be a Porn star’ audition flyers in the bin of the EFL and we’ve had to significantly tailor the subject heading of our mail-out for schoolsemails because theyit wereas, unsurprisingly, getting shot down by sex-hating spam filters. filtered into spam.

 

And, of course, some people just don’t get it.

We’ve been at the bottom of OxStu’s drama ruler twice because they thought our marketing left a “bitter taste in the mouth. I’d be quite worried if it didn’t. We’re not promoting a classy musical or a Miller play. We’re marketing a production set in the pornography industry, which, more often than not, leaves a bitter taste in more than just its reviewers’ mouths. 

 

So why have we chosen to put this classic play in a setting so seemingly incongruous, and so full of the potential for gross miscommunication? Because we’re pretty sure people will be surprised by just how congruous it is, and by the genius of a script that simultaneously illuminates and is illuminated by its modern context. We’re willing to trust that people will make up their mind about this interpretation only once they’ve seen the glowing set and the dance routines, the jazz band and the unique score, the gripping plot and the complex characters. After all, we aren’t staging a porno. VolponeAlthough our marketing may be focussed on our adaptation of the text, we’d like to make clear that the play itself, in answer to the questions that we’ve been asked, is not porn. It’s is a dark comedy written by Ben Jonson, one of the heftiest titans in the canon of English Literature,a contemporary of Shakespeare, which that we are setting  in the pornography industry. AndAnd it’s pronounced Vol-poor-nay. Not Val-pohn, not Vole-porn. There are no voles.


 [BI1]What does this bit say? That porn is just really bitter for everyone?

 [KE2]This is the paragraph I’m worried about. I’m not sure about using their pun and I’m not 100% about sentence structure. It might sound weird because I’m trying to avoid repeating the “pornography industry. An industry which/whose” motif of the previous paragraph. 

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