One of the questions asked during a talk-back for Trans Form was “What would happen if you were on a deserted island and couldn’t take hormones? what would happen if you stopped taking them?” I think of this as the “Lost” question (what would happen if I’d been on the plane in the TV show Lost) and here’s my answer:
There are two issues to consider if I stopped taking hormones. First, and most simply, the physical effects. Right now, I’m taking testosterone blockers (to help negate the testosterone my body is producing) and estrogen (to help push my body toward the hormonal norm for women). As such, blood tests taken on me right now would show a hormonally normal and balanced woman: lots of estrogen, a little testosterone. The effects of that have been physical and emotional: I grew boobs, lost some muscle mass, my body hair thinned out a bit, and I’ve become more emotional.?????
Were I to stop taking those pills, my hormone balance would slowly start shifting toward typical male: mostly testosterone, some estrogen. My breasts would ‘deflate’ a little – though not a ton – and I’d regain some of that muscle mass I lost. Likewise, my body hair would become a bit more aggressive, and my emotions would swing back from easily expressed to slightly more difficult to access. These are all pretty objective measures, and something I’m comfortable stating with some certainty.
Continue reading 'A Desert Island'»
Earlier tonight (Sunday night), I performed at the Chicago Fringe Binge, a fundraiser and publicity event for the 2011 Chicago Fringe Festival. There was a carnival theme, and lots of fun (and silly) events and booths. I had a booth about what it meant to be a boy or a girl, which drew some great comments – I’ll post ’em later this week. I was one of a few people performing little bits of shows, as part of the push to get people to come to Chicago Fringe 2011. I did a new piece, something I hadn’t performed before, in which I ended up topless.
Continue reading 'Performing topless: terrifying and empowering'»
Two delightful emails from audience members. Trans Form runs through December 5, and tickets are available online.
“Your story really touched me, because I could relate to so many of the your experiences, both the positive and the painful. I think what you’re doing is great for our community, and hope that you keep going strong!” – Shannon
“What I really loved about your performance was the honesty. It is a really great piece! In addition, I found your story very compelling.” – Fonda
Even though my current show, Trans Form, still has three more weekends, I’m already trying to figure out future projects. (Obligatory: Trans Form is running until December 5! Get your tickets today!) Specifically, I had a great time at the Chicago Fringe Festival this past year, and am looking at other Fringe Festivals around the country and (potentially, but probably not this year) around the world. The big question, then, is what show to pitch: Trans Form, Uncovering the Mirrors, or something else entirely?
Continue reading 'What to pitch…'»
One of my primary sources of income is teaching theatre classes to middle- and high-schoolers. I really enjoy it, and I firmly believe that it allows for self-expression and the development of interpersonal skills, two things that are important for all professions, in all walks of life. We – the other directors and I – are in the process of picking the stories we would like to work on with our high school students. The end goal is a performance in March, consisting of four ~20 minute pieces and some improvised scene and story work.
As I was observing the story workshops this year, I kept a particular eye out for the relationship scenes present in a few of the stories being examined. Inevitably, they all involved male/female relationships, just as they have in the past. But this year, much more than in years past, it really bugged me.
Continue reading 'Gender in theatre classes'»
Hello again! Sorry my posting has been so intermittent… weddings and the last day at my fulltime job and, of course, FRINGE! I’m going to try and get back into my regular schedule of writing, and figured I’d first share my experiences from the first annual Chicago Fringe Festival.
'Till next year!
First and foremost: the Fringe Festival was AWESOME! It was great to perform, fun to volunteer, a blast to be able to see other shows, and an all-in-all wonderful experience.
Some Fringe thoughts, in no particular order:
Selling out on Saturday night was really wonderful. The Festival started off rocky for me, because on Tuesday night (the last rehearsal) I was very cranky, unsure if I would ever get off book, exhausted by dealing with technical issues, and at the edge of tears (and occasionally over the edge). Wednesday night (opening) went well, and it was good being able to improve on the show each night. Saturday night was both the strongest show and the largest house, although I finished off Sunday with a really strong show and a good house as well, which was great.
Continue reading 'FRINGE’d'»
From Timeout Chicago:
Rebecca Kling’s 40-minute solo performance begins with her miming her way through her morning routine—shower, makeup and swallowing a comical number of pills. She repeats it over and over, the ritual becoming more and more abstract. The transgender performer’s piece returns to this motif several times, as ritual is one of the show’s defining themes (the title is a reference to the Jewish mourning ritual of sitting shiva, during which a house’s mirrors are covered). Kling’s exploration of her experience as a transgender person and her transition process meanders a bit, and as is so often the danger with the solo-confessional genre, it teeters in places on the edge of navel-gazing. Kling is a charming presence, and she explains her struggle to own her gender identity compellingly. In fact, I wish she’d do more direct connection with the audience. Bits and gags like a “build your own ritual” instructional-video sequence serve to distance us. —Kris Vire