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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Theatre review: Trans Scripts, Part I: The Women empowers unheard stories

Paul Lucas's documentary theatre piece brings heart and vulnerability into the room

Trans Scripts, Part I: The Women showcases seven female voices that weave a range of life experiences together into a melted mosaic of trans women’s lives. Bleeding together yet remaining distinct, it is a powerful ode to the pain, joy, and humility of knowing oneself.

Paul Lucas wrote Trans Scripts after interviewing 75 trans people from around the world and workshopping their stories into the intertwining monologues of the play.

Among the characters is Sandra (Josie Boyce), an older auntie with sass and class and Josephine (Carolynn Dimmer), an Aussie country girl who loves living a rough and tumble lifestyle. Diminutive Eden (Amy Fox) insists the issue she has is in her pants, not the pants themselves and Dr. Violet (Morgane Oger), an ob-gyn, struggles to find the right moment to appear as her true self in a professional context.

The stories pull threads from different classes, races, ages, and country, but they all speak together as one – leaving one chair empty for those that can no longer speak and for those who have yet to find their voice.

The performances are by a troupe of mostly non-actors. As a result, there is a nervous realism to the stories even as accents falter and lines are forgotten. Julie Vu as Zakia owns her words and gives a realistic chuckle at audience reactions that makes you wonder if she’s reciting a script at all while Amy Fox bristles with pain and frustration as Eden.

Some awkward moments come from the rather forced choreography that the cast can’t quite pull off with comfort and pulls us out of the heart-fullness of the story.

The set is minimal, driving focus to the ladies on stage with a casualness that belies the dramatic flair of the show.

Trans Scripts drags heart and vulnerability into the room with every syllable. This team of badass ladies breathe in the fears, prejudices, pain, and lies surrounding the experience of transitioning and breathe out connection, compassion, humour, and humanity. This show is a salve in a burning world.

Editor’s note: Trans Scripts was forced to close early due to the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis. Organizers have advised they are planning to broadcast a previously recorded performance on their social media channels on Saturday, March 21 at 8:00 pm. Vancouver Presents will provide more details as they become available.

Trans Scripts, Part I: The Women by Paul Lucas. Directed by Cameron Mackenzie and Fay Nass. Produced by The Frank Theatre and Zee Zee Theatre. Presented by the Firehall Arts Centre. No further performances.

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