Content note: Transphobia, I’m sorry.
Never have I physically been talked out to write a review, and even if I hated something that bad, I would still give it an attempt but I physically couldn’t stomach the idea of visiting this performance during this fringe season.
Firstly NEVER get the person who came to the pub to hand out flyers “to our community” to do that job ever again. I don’t know if she was drunk or having a bad day but she shouldn’t speak to transgender people ever again. Whilst I am fully aware that asking about accessibility for a moving performance that covered two floors would be difficult and I give her credit she was willing to find ways to help make it accessible (so she did have a plus point, I’m not going to be a shit and lie about that) she lost myself and both partners after that point.
The questioned I asked were:
Why is there a trans character?
What is them being trans relevant to the story of Romeo and Juliette?
How many people are trans are in your performance?
Have you done any trans awareness training?
Did you ever do a consultation?
How many trans people are in your Q and A panel?
These are the type of questions I ask 99% of groups/plays/uni work come to us and ask to advertise or work with myself or other trans people. These are common questions because as a community we have been fetishised, humiliated and insulted by the cisgender (which she didn’t even know that word) community and media especially. These are sometimes harsh sounding questions and I explained that, and explained the reason behind it. They have no trans actors, when we asked she said how they “tried” to do a call out for trans actors, but all they did was go to (a LONDON based trans group) and they didn’t help. Funny how the play is in Brighton and not one trans organisation was emailed. She then explained how there would be only 4 actors and there had to be two men and two women and the only way they could get round the 2 genders was by having a trans woman as a character, who was always going to be played by a cis woman.
When asked about training and what trans people were in consultation with this, she said how there had been none and the (London based group) had wanted to charge £250 to help with them, which she thought was a total shock because she thought she could get it for free of low cost (though she did concede that its actually peoples jobs) and that we would automatically want to get ourselves out there.
She then told us how she was able to do a play about trans experience because she “has trans friends” and that she would be totally cool if her son wanted to “wear a dress” she would love him just the same.
She also said that she wanted to do this because “wouldn’t it be great if he was in love with Romeo” and I explained that she could have done that easily without having a trans character to do that. All I kept getting was “well its happening anyway” even though at no point did I say I didn’t want it to happen, I was more concerned about how cis people were planning to play trans characters without upsetting a community. I also explained that in no way was I trying to be aggressive and that sometimes my words come out wrong or sound blunt but they are not, and Kai tried to explain that its one of my issues and that I was just trying to protect groups after the whole media hounding we had before, and that the safety if the community is important. She then went on to explain that the character gets abuse and that its needed to be shown and that Romeo needs it to learn. She then didn’t want to spoil it for us.
Eventually she went on about the Q and A and said that I should come along and get half price tickets and see how the performance was, I said that I might go, and she then told me that I could go providing I didn’t ask or have any argumentative comments or questions. At this point I just walked out, followed by Kai and I waited to calm down. I don’t know what else was said but I know Steph ended up talking to them.
The Q and A night was tonight and what I did was sit at home and watch TV shows with one of my partners. It could have been a good show, I don’t know. If you saw it and you want to comment please. I want to be proved wrong and this person was badly selling this to a few trans people and panicked the moment they got questions. It happens, people fuck up all the time. I don’t like it when there are bad plays during fringe. And I hope it was so much better then she made it out to be. I really do.