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'»
Remounting this show has been an interesting experience. First, I’ve had the opportunity to revisit old material. (Only a year or so old, but it’s been a long year!) I’m used to working in crunch time, with each artistic project finished just under the wire. Then that project is set aside, to begin work on the next.
Here, by virtue of having a completed script from the get-go, there’s been a chance to really explore each section of the show and figure out how it fits within the larger show as a whole. Likewise, I’ve been able to (slash been forced to) examine how I have or haven’t changed my attitudes around transitioning since writing this show last year. (As I discussed in this post about self-loathing and forgiveness.)
More broadly, this incarnation of Trans Form has been a much more collaborative process, with designers, a direction, and a production team. The upside of that is I’ve been able to focus more on the actual job of acting. The downside, there have been some decisions made that I’m not sure I totally understand. Nothing bad – I think the show is going to be great – I’m just not used to not having the final say on every little thing.
In any event, Trans Form opens tomorrow and runs Thursdays through Sundays until December 5. Tickets and more info are available at New Suit Theatre Company.
Just over a year ago, in a post called Reconciling Regret, I wrote about the conversations I used to have between myself and “Rebecca,” my mental construct of the female version of myself:
My conversations would usually start when I was feeling particularly stupid, or sad, or masculine. She’d start, this Rebecca that I imagined myself as in some alternate universe, speaking to me across the barrier which separated our realities: “You’re never going to be happy if you keep on like this.”
“Rebecca” would often continue to berate me and, when I didn’t talk to my parents (or talk to my therapist, find a doctor, find hormones, or whatever standards I/she set for myself) she’d turn the talk to suicide:
“Then why don’t you just kill yourself?” This line was always particularly seductive. Why not kill myself? Clearly, nothing was ever going to change. Friends would be happy, family would be happy, I wouldn’t. Maybe for brief moments, sunlight shining through the clouds, but never for long.
“Just do it. Kill yourself, and it’ll be over. You’re never going to be me.”
A version of one of these conversations is in the script for Trans Form, and today at rehearsal Kristen (my director) and I worked on it. It was hard to do. Really hard.
Continue reading 'Going to Hard Places'»
Finally sat down tonight and put together another clip from Trans Form. Enjoy! (The video is after the jump and, in case you missed it, the first clip is here.)
Continue reading 'Trans Form – Clip Two'»
I finally finished editing the first bit of Trans Form (and figuring out good settings to export it, which took almost as long). Enjoy!
Continue reading 'Trans Form clip number one'»
I know that’s kind of all I’ve been blathering about the past week or so, but I really can’t believe it. The show went really well – I’d budgeted about 60 people coming over all three nights, and Sunday alone (closing night) we had 69 people. They were packed in, but we fit ’em. (The box office manager told me, “We never see this big of an audience for an unknown solo performance. Maybe for well-established ensemble companies, but not for a one-woman show.” Which just goes to show how badass my friends and family are!)
All three shows were filmed, and I plan to have video up by the end of the year. (Fingers crossed.)
Continue reading 'My show is done!'»
I sat down with Sarah Terez Rosenblum a few weeks ago for an interview that was just posted at the Windy City Times website, a Chicago-area LGBT newspaper.
Eloquent and animated, performer Rebecca Kling clearly enjoys discussing her work. “Trans Form combines spoken word and multimedia,” she says, sipping tea at Starbucks, “it’s the second show I’ve written outside of school.” Chatting about Trans Form’s inspiration, as well as theater as a vehicle for social change, Rebecca’s passion for theater grows increasingly evident; it’s creation surely integral to her sense of self.Windy City Times: What was the impetus for your new show?
Rebecca Kling: Trans Form came out of the work I did at the Charged Bodies Mentorship Program, which itself came out of a weeklong workshop at Links Hall where I sort of stumbled on the idea of transitioning as this mythic process of defying gods and defying fate and defying convention. When I was fortunate enough to get the Critical Fierceness Grant through Chances Dances in Chicago this past year to expand the piece, I realized I wanted to delve into the mundane or the personal or the everyday, keeping components of the piece I worked on last year, but also expanding upon it and trying to process where I’m coming from, where I’m going and what the hell I’m doing.
Continue reading 'Interview with Windy City Times'»
From this week’s Time Out Chicago:
Last year, trans performance artist Rebecca Kling told us it was a struggle figuring out how to present herself on stage. You wouldn’t think so if you caught her assured cameo at this summer’s Homo Show in Wicker Park. With the help of a Chances Dances Critical Fierceness Grant, Trans Form, her first full solo show, happens Friday 11–Sunday 13 at Links Hall. Using video, dance and candid confession, Kling explores her life as a transgender woman in Chicago. With her raw honesty and graceful body movements, we can only say of Kling, what a difference a year makes.
(And no, I’m not posting this at 3AM after getting home from tech. I don’t know what you’re talking about.)
Getting excited for the opening this Friday!
Rebecca Kling’s solo performance employs storytelling, video and theatrical movement to relate her experiences as a transgender woman… Trans Form peels back the trans label and its mystique to probe the complications of human identity…. With good nature and gentle humor the five-minute monologue [about changing her name] not only riffs on the frustrations of living in a bureaucratic system, but also gives one pause to consider the blurred line between private life and public identity. It plays out like a Kafka short story that ends in triumph. (Sharon Hoyer)
Continue reading 'Trans Form in the press!'»
If you’re in the Chicago area, come see my one-woman show, Trans Form, this weekend!
Rooted in the work created during her participation in Links Hall’s 2008 Charged Bodies Mentorship Program, Rebecca Kling presents Trans Form, an evening of solo performance exploring her life as a transgender woman in chicago. This multimedia piece – composed of storytelling, video, movement, playful skips and jumps, enlightening self-discovery, accusatory glances, awkward pauses, and more – is perfect for anybody who thinks they have gender all figured out, and for the rest of us who don’t.
Tickets are $15, or $10 with the code ‘masked.’ Hope to see you there!