I don’t want to write an article about how we don’t see enough of a certain kind of people on stage. We are all working within an unfortunate system that, for the most part, elevates the work that mirrors itself. Instead of talking about production, I want to write about the art that we are making, because we are artists making art, whether it’s produced or not.
I’m at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in the women’s restroom washing my hands. A woman walks in, “I must be in the wrong place,” she says and walks out. Then she walks back in, “No, you’re in the wrong place,” she says, seething with confidence. I walk out, not sure of my place.
I gravitated towards performance art. Many questions emerged from my practice. What am I on fire to do? What gender(s) can I explore? Where is the niche for performers like me? How do I engage my entire history? Do I pursue opportunities that call for a specific gender(s)? Who is my audience? How do I market myself effectively? Will my intentions and choices determine how I am read or is that something outside my control?
The Adventures of a Male-Bodied Transwoman in Drama School
21 October 2014
I was often cast in small roles or the chorus. I learned to watch and listen. Creating a point of view about everything that happens onstage—even when I didn’t have a single line—was invaluable experience. I could make up whatever backstory I wanted. The many pages and youths I played didn’t have strict binary restrictions, so in my heart I was the saucy kitchen wench.
Imagine, if you will, a slumber party. A group of tweens huddles around a television in the carpeted family room of a two-story house. Most of them stare, mouths slightly open, entranced by leading man Leonardo DiCaprio. Caught up in his twenty-something good looks, they have found what they’re looking for. But not all of them. Not me.