Category: theatre

Signal Boost: Chicago performance looking for a trans actor

By , September 24, 2015 4:26 pm

Step Up Productions is seeking Chicago-based trans actors for its upcoming production of Temperance Vs. Tolerance by Mia McCullough directed by Patrice Foster. The short play will be featured in the 3rd annual production of HoliDaze.

Character Breakdown:
Celia: A transwoman, financial advisor. The eldest sibling (Seeking early 30s -late 40s). Self- absorbed, frosty.

A side will be sent out and we would like to see one prepared monologue.

There is a stipend of $200 for the production.

Audition Date: 9/28
Audition Time: between 7pm-10pm
Non – Equity
Rehearsals will be 1-2 times per week (date contingent on actor/director availability) beginning October 11th.
Tech 11/17-11/19
Previews: 11/20, 11/21, 11/23
Opening: 11/24
(No performances 11/25-11/27)
Performances from 11/28 – 12/20. Thursday-Saturday 8pm & Sunday 2pm

Please email headshot and resume and any audition time restrictions to Tara Branham at StepUpCasting@gmail.com.

3AM epiphany on the road

By , June 4, 2014 4:42 pm

I’m currently in Cincinnati, at the 2014 Cincinnati Fringe Festival. My current show, Something Something New Vagina, is going well.  It’s definitely still a work in progress, but I feel pretty good about the content and sharing it in front of an audience has been incredibly valuable as I move forward with the material. Even though some of the script is from pieces I’ve performed before, most of it is new. So I’ve had solid houses, very positive reviews, and good audience buzz. Likewise, CincyFringe is perhaps my favorite Fringe festival of the five I’ve participated in (Chicago, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, and Cincinnati). It’s well organized, run by awesome (and competent!) people, has strong community support, and I like a lot of my fellow artists. I was really excited to come here, even if I was drained from a spring of being on the road.

So why have I been feeling shitty all Fringe? Continue reading '3AM epiphany on the road'»

Travel and touring updates

By , March 11, 2014 11:26 pm
Flying into Los Angeles is a LITTLE different than flying into Chicago....

Flying into Los Angeles is a LITTLE different than flying into Chicago….

Just realized I hadn’t posted much recently about my time on the road. So lets correct that oversight!

I started my touring for 2014 a few weeks ago, traveling up to Minneapolis for Poonies at Patrick’s, where a bunch of Chicago artists ventured north to share our work alongside some awesome MN artists. They’ll be down in Chicago this May for Patrick’s at Poonies.

Then, last week, I went to Philadelphia for a followup appointment with my surgeon, Dr McGinn. Her physician’s assistant said everything looks good (huzzah!) and I’m cleared to be a regular person again (double huzzah!). While in Philly, I got to hang out with some friends, which was lovely. I also got to connect with the Awesome Dr Timaree of Sex With Timaree, where she, another sex educator, and myself recorded an impromptu podcast over margaritas. Check it out!

As I write this, I’m sitting in lovely Los Angeles. Since Chicago was supposed to get 3-8 inches of snow today, I am more than happy to escape for a few days. I’m here at the University of Southern California; tomorrow I’ll be conducting a workshop on transfeminism and hosting a performance of No Gender Left Behind. Check out the info on Facebook. I’ll get to stay an extra day in LA to hang out with some friends, and will hopefully bring the weather (mid-70s and sunny) back to Chicago. A girl can dream…

Continue reading 'Travel and touring updates'»

Big Vagina and the conspiracies THEY don’t want you to know about

By , March 3, 2014 1:43 pm

Note: This is the current draft of a piece I performed at Patrick’s Cabaret in Minneapolis this past weekend.

The toilet paper lobby is in cahoots with Big Vagina.

I don’t mean “big vagina” as in “vaginas that are large.” I mean Big Vagina, as in capital B-Big, capital V-Vagina. As in Big Tobacco, Big Coal, Big Pharmaceutical. As in Conglomerates. Cartels. Cabals. Other… intimidating words that start with a hard-C sound. Shady backroom dealings, where mustachioed billionaires smoke cigars and discuss the course of international events. And lemme tell you, the toilet paper lobby has Big Vagina all sewn up!

That’s an unpleasant visual… I apologize.

But I know about their secret dealings because I am a recent initiate into the world of having a vagina. I possess something of an outsider’s perspective. See, I used to have a penis. For most of my life I had one, actually. But then, on December 10, 2013, a day foretold in prophecy, I stood naked atop the highest peaks and called upon otherworldly powers to make right a cosmic injustice.

Or maybe I simply went to a surgeon in Philadelphia and had some awesome fantasies while high on morphine.

But either way, my outie became an innie and I gained secret knowledge that Big Vagina doesn’t want you to have. Like Big Vagina’s relationship with the toilet paper lobby.

Let me tell you how peeing works when you have a penis: You stand in front of a toilet or urinal, you unzip, you aim, you shake, and you zip. You might wash your hands, but you probably won’t. Because – if done correctly – peeing from a penis does not get urine all over the fucking place. Continue reading 'Big Vagina and the conspiracies THEY don’t want you to know about'»

‘Last Five Years’ retold as a trans narrative

By , July 25, 2013 6:15 pm

A friend of mine, who is currently assistant directing (ADing) a production of The Last Five Years in Chicago, texted me the other day:

JUST REALIZED THE LAST FIVE YEARS, THIS ADORABLE FUCKING MUSICAL I’M ADING, IS VERY SUBTLY BUT UNDENIABLY TRANSPHOBIC. I HATE THEATRE.

Specifically, she was talking about Shiksa Goddess, where the (Jewish) male character in the show sings about all the things he’d be willing to put up with in a partner, as long as she’s not Jewish:

If you had a pierced tongue, that wouldn’t matter
If you once were in jail or you once were a man,
If your mother and your brother had “relations” with each other
And your father was connected to the Gotti clan
I’d say, “Well, nobody’s perfect”
It’s tragic but it’s true
I’d say, “Hey! Hey! Shiksa goddess!
I’ve been waiting for someone like…”

(Emphasis added).

I joked that the line would be less problematic if he was also trans. And maybe the woman in question is trans, too. EVERYONE is trans!

Which got me thinking, how would that work in this show?

Continue reading '‘Last Five Years’ retold as a trans narrative'»

Nudity as a political act

By , July 22, 2013 3:46 pm

A few weeks ago, I wrote Skinny Dipping While Trans, which talked about my experiences skinny dipping in a primarily queer space, and doing so again in a primarily cis/straight space. Since then, I’ve come to a conclusion: I need full nudity in my upcoming show, Get Ready for the Vagina Fairy. (Minneapolis info, and Chicago info.) That conclusion has come from a few places.

First, there’s a pressing thought in the back of my mind these days, that I’m only going to have a penis for a few more months and I should make the best of it. So to speak. That’s part of the reason I was willing to go skinny dipping at Philly Trans Health, and at Lakes of Fire; I figured that I wouldn’t have many opportunities to do it again in my current body, so what the hell.

But that – the idea that you need to do something before you lose the opportunity – isn’t a great reason all by itself. Ideally, it needs to be coupled with other reasons. Which got me thinking about nudity as a political act, and particularly trans nudity as a political act.

Continue reading 'Nudity as a political act'»

Its been a while – Trans 100, fundraising updates, and more

By , April 2, 2013 3:19 pm

Why hello there! Been a while since I’ve posted, but that’s mostly for good reasons. Lets go through a few of ’em:

Trans 100

trans100-square-logoThis is one of the more exciting things that has been keeping me busy. Over the last few months, the fabulous Jen Richards (of We Happy Trans) and Toni D’orsay (of This Is How) put together the Trans 100, a list of 100 activist, organizers, educators, and more who are working for the good of the trans community. Oh, and everyone on the list is trans. I am incredibly proud and grateful to have been named to the list, and share the honor with some really amazing powerhouses: Dr Susan Stryker, S. Bear Bergman, Kokumo, Dr Kortney Ryan Ziegler, Janet Mock, Namoli Brennet, CeCe McDonald, and tons more. The event has received quite a bit of positive coverage from GLAAD (or is it now GLAD?) the Huffington Post, the Windy City Times, and elsewhere.

Jen roped me into helping with a bunch of backstage stuff, which was exhausting but also exhilarating and empowering. The event was almost entirely organized and run by trans people, which was a delight in and of itself. But the energy in the space – from the presenters and the audience – was overwhelming and positive. Check out #trans100 on Twitter to see what I mean. I was offstage the entire event, helping direct traffic and get presenters on and off in a timely manner, but I had a perfect view to see the entire evening. It was in the final stretch, the last round of names, when I turned to Jen and said, “This feels really stupid, but I just realized something: Everyone on this list…is alive.”

It seems silly to say that, as one of the taglines for the event was “Celebrate the Living.” But the way we usually hear lists of trans people is at the Trans Day of Remembrance, when we read a list of our dead. To be honoring and celebrating and highlighting people who are still with us, for the awesome work that they’re doing, was overwhelming. I’m honored to have been named to the list, proud to have helped make the event happen, and so charged to move forward. I want to live up to the expectations I hope the Trans 100 is setting, and be able to look back a year from now with no regrets about the work I’ve been doing, or the feeling I could/should have done more.

Continue reading 'Its been a while – Trans 100, fundraising updates, and more'»

Naming a business

By , February 10, 2013 12:57 pm

The time is approaching where I will need to incorporate. “Need” is obviously subjective, but everyone I’ve talked to (including my accountant) has said that you should make an official business if/when you’re making more than (ballpark) $10,000 a year from your art/hobby/freelancing/whatever. Since I am (yay!) I now am looking at becoming all legal and shit. I’m going to ignore the types of incorporation (LLC, L3C, S Corp, etc). I’m sure there are pros and cons to each, but I haven’t done my research yet to comment intelligently. Instead, I’m going to talk about naming said corporation.

The simplest way to go would be Rebecca Kling Productions. Well, technically, Rebecca Kling Productions LLC, Inc, or whatever. I’m going to stop mentioning that part; just assume anything I say would have to be followed by some official-style designation. At least two artists I know, Seth Lepore and Johnny Stax have gone this route, with The Seth Lepore Project and Johnny Stax Presents, respectively. The pros of this seem pretty obvious: The name is the brand, and it’s clear who is behind the whole thing. For artists where their personality and identity is ‘the art,’ that makes a lot of sense. I certainly fall into that category, and using my name as my business would be a totally reasonable choice.

On the other hand, using one’s name in their business name means that people who don’t know who you are might not be clear on what you do. I’ve considered names like Inevitably Queer Productions because I like the idea of having a little more explicit indication of the type of work I do. (Sidestepping the fact that that specific example is still pretty vague.) I like the idea of Queer Narratives, for example, or the Queer Storytelling Project. The pros here also seem pretty clear: it gives a better, immediate idea of what’s going on. Thinking about what people see in a Fringe Festival festival guide, for example, Storms Beneath Her Skin (The Queer Storytelling Project) seems more evocative than Storms Beneath Her Skin (Rebecca Kling Productions).

Continue reading 'Naming a business'»

Performance piece – Penis-scanning lasers

By , December 30, 2012 10:26 pm

I performed this piece at Chances Dances on Monday, 12/17/12.

A week ago today, I was in New York City getting my penis scanned by lasers, so that a feminist, queer-positive sex toy company could give me a mold, cast from my own cock, that I could use to make candles, chocolates, and – of course – dildos.

Perhaps I should explain.

I recently scheduled my gender reassignment surgery. On December 9, 2013, I’ll be traveling to New Hope, Pennsylvania, north of Philadelphia, where Dr. Christine McGinn will be using the powers of medical science to turn my penis into a vagina.

This is not a cheap surgery. It’ll cost $20,000 and – although I plan to fight them on this – my insurance wants to pay for absolutely none of it. They have an exclusion in their policy for any costs “for or from a gender transformation operation.” Since I don’t have twenty grand lying around, I’ve decided to hold a fundraiser for my surgery. I’m using the Kickstarter model: people can donate at different levels, and they’ll get rewards in return. $10 gets you a postcard, $15 gets you an origami vagina, and so on. The list of rewards includes artwork, salon services, sex toys, trans-positive porn, and more.

As a shameless plug, you can go to RebeccaKling.com to donate.

One of the items I really wanted to offer was a dildo, using myself as a model. This was an idea that, like so many good ideas, came from a night of drinking and getting high. “Oh my god, wouldn’t it be hilarious if I made a dildo of my own cock?” As it turns out, the idea remains hilarious, even sober. Continue reading 'Performance piece – Penis-scanning lasers'»

Making the private public – turning the tables on transitioning as a public experience

By , December 10, 2012 9:27 am

(This is yet another post written while waiting to board an airplane.)

The first question people ask when they hear I’m going to New York to get a custom mold of my penis so that I can make (among other things) penis candles is “…why?” (Either that or they start laughing hysterically.) My first answer is, “Because it’s funny?” But after talking about it with a friend last night, I want to expand on some more subtle motivations.

Transitioning is a private issue that inherently becomes public. Coming out as gay doesn’t necessitate a discussion about your sex life, your relationship with your body, or your changing ideas of ‘self.’ Transitioning necessitates making public (to a greater or lesser extent) many of those things, whether or not the trans person wants to. As I transitioned, people could stop by my office at work and see how my presentation and my body itself were changing. That visibility meant that they felt comfortable asking questions, many of which – on the whole – weren’t really any of their business.

That’s part of the reason I perform the material that I do.

Continue reading 'Making the private public – turning the tables on transitioning as a public experience'»

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