Edinburgh Theatre

The year 2015-2016 was a big year for me, coming to Edinburgh after working in the Middle East for several years. One of the first things I did was visit the Festival Theatre, where I fell in love with modern dance (I hate dancing, so don’t switch off if you are also not a dancer). Although I intend to continue visiting the Festival, I will also be trying out other venues, for modern dance, drama, ballet and opera.

Hearty by Emma Frankland

Emma-Frankland

Hearty by Emma Frankland

Raw and dripping with punk aesthetic, this one-woman-show's one-woman emerges in ripped tights and a T-shirt that paraphrases loudly the words of anti-trans theorist Germaine Greer: Lop Your Dick Off. My first impression of Emma Frankland is edgily uncertain and in awe, her Lady-Gaga-looks combined with Heath Ledger's mesmeric Joker. It is then that I notice she also has a tail, thick and long and pink, and attached to her back, a metallic pair of wings, the tips able to puncture through metal. There are trans people who present themselves respectfully with tidings of joy to politicians in tightly-controlled spaces, with wine and nibbles. This is not one of those occasions, and Emma is not bearing that kind of message. Here, anxiety and vulnerability is woven with fuck-you intransigence.

During this show named Hearty, a play on HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy), Emma moves in circles, her set also cycling and re-cycling her words and thoughts. Despite the punk aesthetic, and the metal prosthetic and gothic eye make-up, her body language and manner is tender. Don't hurt me is one recurring utterance, possibly conjuring a primary thought that comes to any transgender person who has come out in public, the statement re-emerging with every eye-contact with a stranger. Emma launches into a brief flurry of exercise before swigging thirstily from a large plastic bottle that could either be apple juice or horse urine – at one point she mentions that the female hormones prescribed to trans women come from horse hormones. Emma also mentions biocodes and new possibilities for improving her body, including the fantasy of a hormone-patch that allows you to travel time. The influence of trans theorists such as Paul Preciado and Eva Hayward with their connection between hormone therapy and ecstasy is discernible, a radical trans feminism that wants more than equal marriage rights, if it wants that at all. It is not enough to apologetically be trans; she wants to savour it.

The show is partly about Emma, but also about trans people in the world. It is apparent at different points she is referencing other forms of trans identity, possibly Hijra in India or shamans from Indonesia or indigenous Two-Spirit Americans, also the violent campaigns against trans women in Brazil. She mentions past campaigns against witches, perhaps the punk female stars of a different era. These references indicate how this is a show operating at different levels in implicit signs that shift from personal to international. As her book None of Us Is Yet a Robot (2019) reveals, this is her fifth artistic work, building on the themes of the previous projects that dealt with transitioning. This production, Hearty, is subtly more politically aware, referencing the treatment of trans women in the world in 2019. The T-shirt's appropriation of an ugly statement made by a transphobic critic, for example, is not a coincidence. Hearty is a bid to connect trans identities around the world and let the audience know that this is not a recent phenomenon, not the identity or the hostility that follows it. Embracing fear in her fearsome, punk-styled exterior, the final words come like something from a superhero movie whether intended or otherwise, like a call to arms: She refuses to endure . . . She has endured for long enough . . . She refuses to endure. An inspiring call to arms, to end a darkly marvellous show.


Image taken from Emma Frankland's website https://www.notyetarobot.co.uk/

Pronoun, Pass, & Amnesty International
 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Guest
Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Captcha Image

My Latest Posts

August 21, 2019

Hearty by Emma Frankland

Hearty by Emma Frankland Raw and dripping with punk aesthetic, this one-woman-show's one-woman emerges in ripped tights and a T-shirt that paraphrases loudly the words of anti-trans theorist Germaine Greer: Lop Your Dick Off. My first impression of Emma Frankland is edgily uncertain and in awe, her Lady-Gaga-looks combined with Heath Ledger's mesme...
August 21, 2019

Pronoun, Pass, & Amnesty International

Transgender drama: Pronoun To be clear at the outset, this was the production of a youth theatre group, not a highly resourced team of experienced, professional career actors – although some of the performances left a powerful impression, and the show as a whole achieved some remarkable moments. Pronoun , written by Evan Placey, follows the transit...
August 13, 2019

Transgender Dance: Sound Cistem

Transgender Dance: Sound Cistem It starts with a heartbeat, the dancer-directors Lizzie and Ayden in slow-motion entry, setting the scene of a nightclub featuring two young transgender bodies who are in fact multiple. Sound Cistem is theatrical dance set to a series of pulsing, dance-floor rhythms and the voices of several trans interviewees projec...
August 04, 2019

Drone by Harry Josephine Giles

Drone by Harry Josephine Giles The blurring of human and machine reiterates here in a comedically surreal, startling performance by the performance poet Harry Josephine Giles. Drawing on visual and aural effects, Giles presents the disturbingly evocative middle-class arc of the life of an electronic, military drone. With Giles as both narrator and ...
August 03, 2019

Burgerz by Travis Alabanza

Burgerz by Travis Alabanza Playing currently at the Traverse Theatre is Travis Alabanza's poignant and comic one-person show, a thought-provoking meditation created out of a jarring personal experience. Back in 2016, Alabanza, a non-binary person of colour, was abused in a London street, with a burger thrown at them by a stranger. The show's series...
August 03, 2019

While transphobes get more hateful, I become more freckly

While transphobes got more hateful, I became more freckly Written weeks after the conference Transgender: Intersectional/International There's nothing good to say, even the films I enjoyed watching this past week, Midsommar and Apollo 11 , I've lost the Sunday will to write. Perhaps Brexit Britain will become like the village cult in Midsommar , bu...
June 09, 2019

Dark Phoenix, John Wick 3, Godzilla: my reflections

Three fantasy movies within three days: X Men: Dark Phoenix; John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum; Godzilla: King of the Monsters The Lacanian feminist Kaja Silverman says about cinema, we go because we need the affirmation, to see the things we hope to see and fail to see in the real world. In Lacanian-speak, Silverman says we go because 'the desire ...
June 02, 2019

Personal Reflections on Transgender: Intersectional/International

Personal reflections on the conference Transgender: Intersectional/International (28-29 May) ​​Note: these reflections do not represent anyone else who contributed to Transgender: Intersectional/International I got involved with Transgender: Intersectional/International in order to create an LGBT/queer space that accommodated discussions on racism,...
April 28, 2019

Gina's Moving Castle

Saturday afternoon 27.04.19 Enough with marking papers. Enough about conferences. Outside is a blue sky. There's a book shop nearby, my temple, its owners are trying to remove stickers of transphobic messages pasted on their door. Yesterday I met a guy who'd been set upon by a group of 17-year-olds. He still had the scars, and the trauma. They saw ...