The Talk | Mish Grigor

A family talks about sex. An audience re-enacts their conversations. Awkward. Intimate. Hilarious.

In ‘The Talk’, I read transcripts of interviews that I have undertaken with my family about their sex lives. I begin by asking the audience to perform, to act as my family.

About The Talk

I tell them that my family asked me to change their names to protect their identity (I haven’t). I tell them that my family asked me to take out some of the more intimate details of the interviews (I haven’t). I tell them that my family finally requested that I send them a final draft of the script for their approval before performing it in front of anybody (I haven’t). I then ask them to raise a glass of lukewarm overpriced champagne and say ‘cheers’ to my family, and to all the things I haven’t done for them. Then, we read.

Together we enact their sex stories, my sex stories, and conversations about our sexuality.

We play out the first time that my father told me how sex works, awkwardly explaining that babies are put into vaginas with penises. Then we play out sex conversation that changed my family, when my brother told us that he was HIV Positive. As his sex life and diagnosis is discussed in more detail by my family, I step outside of the action, directing the audience participants to become more and more theatrical in their portrayal of my family. The questioning becomes pushier and pushier, before finally I playing them an audio tap of myself having sex, calling it one last attempt at an even playing field.


“Australian Mish Grigor’s The Talk foregrounds the artist’s heterosexual exploits while telling an achingly personal story of a family member’s coming to terms with HIV. Grigor’s reliance on the audience as actors is tricky but skilfully handled, paying off with a huge sense of camaraderie.” Megan Garrett-Jones, REALTIME

“A wonderfully entertaining hour… It is funny, toe-curlingly frank, immensely insightful about family dynamics, and it makes you think about your own family and what you do and don’t talk about” Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

“The work uncovers something surprisingly profound about shame and fear, and a part of our emotional lives we feel unable to share. It’s also constantly asking questions about what should be kept private, and how drawing that line can undermine our closest relationships. It’s surprisingly gripping, very funny, refreshing and, as I said earlier, quite an emotional experience.” Ben Neutz, Daily Review

Production History

The Marlborough Theatre, Brighton: April 6 – 7
Battersea Arts Centre: April 12 – 13
Cambridge Junction: April 19

Liveworks Festival, Performance Space, Sydney Metro Arts / Brisbane Festival, Brisbane
Forest Fringe, Edinburgh Buzzcut Festival, Glasgow

SITE IS SET – FIELD THEORY, In a domestic house in Melbourne.

Production Notes

­Standard rig or room with adequate lighting and rigging point for one special (or provided disco lighting)
1 x table, strong enough to hold the weight of performer
6 x Chairs (any)
Sound system with headphone jack for laptop
1 x Technician to operate basic sound cues


Nominated for Best Contemporary Performance, Green Room Awards 2016.

Artist Biography

Mish Grigor is an artist based in Sydney engaged in an ongoing examination into the intersections between populist entertainment and experimental performance practices.

Mish is one third of the collaboration POST, formed in 2003, in collaboration with Natalie Rose and Zoe Coombs Marr. POST have been described as having ‘a seriousness about silliness’ (The Australian), as creators of ‘biting Australian satire’ (REALTIME), and “whose performance art often pokes fun at its very existence” (The Age).

Photography Credits

Photography by