Sunday, April 10, 2011

"Falling/Flying" - April 2011

Stef Smith's 'monologue' in two voices allows us an insight into what it means to live the life of a transgender woman. We witness her early realisation of how she wanted to live, the prejudice she encounters, and then finally watch as her hard won identity is stripped from her by illness. But this isn't as bleak as it sounds. There is plenty of humour as 'he' and 'she' share memories and the overwhelming feeling is of adversities overcome and a life lived to the full.

John Paul Murray and Gordon Brandie give compelling performances as the 'male' and 'female' voices and make a real connection with the audience - it really matters that we're there to listen to her/their story. For the most part Ros Philip's direction works well, but although they add a nice touch, the projection elements seem unnecessary and out of place in what is otherwise a pretty pared back production. The moments when the actors play other characters in her life aren't always as clearly realised as they could be - in part due to a narrative that jumps around a little too much (also resulting in it being difficult to get a sense of the timeframes involved).

"Falling/Flying" is a touching personal tale but with its complex structure, poetic language and movement the volume of the theatricality risks drowning out the intimacy of the story.

Falling/Flying has completed its run at the Tron.
Image by Chris Amos used with permission.