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  • Fri, 20, Apr, 2018 - 5:00:AM

Try a little Tender-ness: The new show about love and sex in 2018

Let’s talk about love and sex in 2018. What is it? Where do we find it? Does love mean romance? And how has our increased ‘wokeness’ impacted upon the romantic landscape?

Auckland Theatre Company’s upcoming season of Tender– a play that is part of the youth-focused Here & Now Festival – delves into all of these questions and more. We caught up with cast member Zoe Fong to talk about the brand new show.

Villainesse: Do you think that our hyper-connected world helps or hinders love in 2018? Or is it not that simple?

Zoe Fong: It’s definitely a complex issue. On one hand it gives people this amazing medium to stay connected even when apart, like I can still talk to my sister daily even though she’s in Dunedin and I’m up in Auckland. But at the same time, in a world that’s saturated with media and the inability to tap out from this online sphere, it can really affect people’s ability to socialise face to face, or even just take a break from social pressures every once in a while. 

You have to take the good with the bad. It’s all about balance. 

How many of your own experiences ended up being a part of the show?

A LOT. It was so funny reading the final script and recognising all these little snippets of conversations I’d had with cast mates, and even just little offhand comments I’d made in passing that someone had recorded. 

What is the sex and dating landscape like for young people looking for love in 2018?

In my experience, limited. New social pressures put up a wall between young people. People are less willing to be vulnerable and open with each other, because that doesn’t fit the specific life template laid out by social media stars like Kylie Jenner. It’s harder to feel comfortable in yourself nowadays, let alone with another person. 

So how are we meant to talk about love in a ‘woke world’?

With great understanding and compassion. Despite what we’ve been told, there’s more than one way to love, and be loved. Accepting that love is this gargantuan mystery that’s never going to be solved is a step towards appreciating diversity of opinion and launching a new culture of listening.

We’re now seeing people (well, mostly men) talking about how hard it is to flirt in the post-#MeToo era.What advice would you give to people who are worried about the impact of #MeToo upon love, sex and romance?

I can understand why they might feel that way, but also I don’t believe it’s that hard to show a bit of courtesy and respect towards women. It’s also an important thing to note that flirting is not making a vulgar pass at a complete stranger. Read the situation. Be polite, be understanding. It’s straight up common sense. 

Why would anyone be worried about a movement that’s fostering a safe and open environment around a critical part of human existence? Embrace it. Don’t be afraid of honesty in a closed off world. 

Tender opens tonight in Auckland as part of Auckland Theatre Company’s Here & Now Festival. For more information, click here.

This content was sponsored by Auckland Theatre Company.


  • Auckland Theatre Company /
  • Theatre /
  • Love /
  • Sex /
  • Romance /
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