WINDY CITY TIMES
||The Kling's the thing: Trans performer talks
by Sarah Terez Rosenblum
This article shared 2721 times since Wed Dec 9, 2009
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.
WCT: Describe your writing background.
RK: My writing background comes from performance art at Northwestern and from years of being a student and a teacher at the Piven Theatre workshop in Evanston. I also have a blog. After coming out to a friend, she said "you know, this is something you really need to be writing about, because fifty years from now, you're gonna wanna be able to look back and see where you were coming from," so that was my original impetus. I'm sort of embarrassed that I have a blog. I'm not yet able to claim...
WCT: Blog pride?
RK: Yeah, blog pride. But I do have one, and a lot of the material in this show comes from that. I tried to start writing a couple times a week, and that's been a really positive experience both personally, being able to share with this online community, and in terms of the piece. I've been able to pull things like, going to the Daly Center to get my name changed, having issues with doctors, transitioning at work. Writing about it and coming back and going, "ok, this is how I was feeling at this time, and this is what can be extracted that can be useful or interesting onstage," has been really helpful.
WCT: You're writing about loaded issues. Do you feel safe putting such personal material onstage?
RK: I'm spoiled in that I'm coming from a community of family, friends and coworkers that has been extremely supportive of my transitioning and my identity. They've known me, in many cases, since before I transitioned, and so shouldn't be surprised that I'm trans or that I'm an artist or that I'm sharing these things onstage. That's made it both easier, but at the same time somewhat harder. For example, writing about when I was a child and knowing my parents are coming to the show, I had to suppress the desire to hide things. I had to make a conscious choice that this is the narrative of myself I want to share, and if my parents or roommates or coworkers see it, they are going to see that part of me.
WCT: Who is your ideal audience?
RK: I have two. First, I want people who are queer or trans or somehow feel they don't fit into mainstream gender and sexuality to be able to see a performance about something that isn't talked about often. Just this afternoon, I sent out postcards to thirty gay/straight alliances around the city, because I vividly remember how much I would have liked to see something like this when I was in high school. At the time, being trans was [ seen as ] something much older people dealt with, so the idea that as a young adult, that could be part of my identity wasn't presented to me as a real option. So, I want to share my story in that way, to sort of lead by example. [ Second, ] I think the division that sometimes happens between alternative and mainstream theater is counterproductive. I'm conscious that most of the artistic community in the professional theater world is certainly very liberal and very accepting, but I've also got a lot of fear that being trans or just outside the normal ideas of sexuality or gender relegates you to this [ lesser ] section of theater. I want artistic peers of mine to be able to share something that not only is very personally and politically validating for me, but is also artistically sound. It's been powerful to have artistic peers who are not queer say, "this component is beautiful because it speaks to the larger human experience, and this component could be tweaked to get there."
WCT: What can theater do in terms of social change?
RK: I think theater can do everything. I feel really strongly that the act of storytelling is the most effective way to cross any sort of border between people. The very first thing we do when we start talking is share our stories. One of the most primal experiences is retelling something that happened. Theater as an expansion of storytelling, which I think, is integral in any sort of social change. The way to become human to someone is to have them understand your story, your history, your complexity. Theater is certainly not the only way to accomplish that, but I think it's one of the most powerful.
Rebecca Kling's show, Trans Form, runs Dec. 11-12 at 8 p.m., and Dec. 13 at 7 p.m at Links Hall, 3435 N. Sheffield. To purchase tickets visit linkshall.org . To learn more about Rebecca Kling go to fridaythang.com/trans-form.
This article shared 2721 times since Wed Dec 9, 2009
| ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE|
|GLAAD Media Awards honors creative forces of change in media, culture 2021-04-09|
--From a press release, video below - Los Angeles, CA, Thursday, April 8, 2021 — GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, tonight hosted a virtual ceremony to announce the award recipients of the 32nd Annu ...
|New study shows discrimination, stigma, family pressure drive transgender "detransition" 2021-04-07|
--From a press release - BOSTONA new study published in LGBT Health found that 13.1% of currently identified transgender people have detransitioned at some point in their lives, but that 82.5% of those who have detransitioned attribute their decision to at ...
|Equality Illinois celebrates Black trans woman's electoral victory in Decatur, Illinois 2021-04-07|
From a press release - A statement from Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state's civil rights organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Illinoisans: "We are extremely proud of Alana ...
|Suburban LGBTQ candidates mostly prevail in April 6 elections
- Illinois LGBTQ candidates mostly prevailed in their respective suburban elections on April 6—with two victories marking rare wins by transgender candidates.
|Arkansas legislature overrides governor on anti-trans measure
- On April 6, the Arkansas state legislature voted to override a veto by Gov. Asa Hutchinson on a bill that would ban gender-affirming treatments for transgender youths in the state, ABC News reported. The "Save Adolescents ...
|Athlete Ally releases Athletic Equality Index of LGBTQ-Inclusion at NCAA D1 Schools 2021-04-05|
--From a press release - LGBTQI+ student athletes are under attack. Here's how schools can step in. LGBTQI+ student athletes already have a lot on their mind between navigating COVID-19, coursework and their sport. They shouldn't have to also worry about ...
|MOVIES 'The Sound of Identity,' about trans opera star, out June 1
- Winner of the 2020 Outshine Film Festival's prestigious Programmers Award of Excellence, The Sound of Identity is a feature documentary that Shout! Studios will present on digital and on demand June 1. Profiling international opera star ...
|WIU LGBTQA Resource Center celebrates 10th Anniversary 2021-04-01|
--From a WIU press release - MACOMB, IL — In 2011, the LGBT*QA Resource Center was established at Western Illinois University to serve as a home, and to raise awareness for, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, questioning+ community at WIU. Ten years ...
|32nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards April 8 2021-04-01|
--From a press release - New York, NY - Thursday, April 1, 2021 - GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, today announced that CHIKA, Rebecca Black, and Niecy Nash's wife Jessica Betts will ...
|President Biden recognizes Transgender Day of Visibility 2021-03-31|
--From a Center on Halsted press release - In a proclamation recognizing March 31, 2021 as Transgender Day of Visibility, President Biden wrote, "Vice President Harris and I affirm that transgender Americans make our Nation more prosperous, vibrant, and strong. I urge my fellow ...
|Pentagon reverses Trump-era ban on trans military service, GLAAD responds 2021-03-31|
--From a GLAAD press release - New York, NY - Wednesday, March 31, 2021 - GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, celebrates news that the Pentagon will issue ...
|NABJ's LGBTQ+ Task Force announces new scholarship named for trans journalist Monica Roberts 2021-03-31|
--From a LGBTQ+ Task Force press release - As communities worldwide celebrate transgender and non-binary people on Transgender Day of Visibility, the National Association of Black Journalists' LGBTQ+ Task Force is proud to announce a new scholarship named ...
|465+ feminist leaders sign open letter in solidarity with trans women and girls 2021-03-31|
--From a GLAAD press release - More than 465 feminist leaders sign open letter standing in solidarity with transgender women and girls in honor of Women's History Month and Transgender Day of Visibility. The letter, organized by GLAAD & Raquel Willis, comes ...
|Chella Man talks media endeavors, the fashion world, upcoming book, AAPI visibility 2021-03-31|
- The multi-talented 22-year-old, Deaf, genderqueer, transgender, Jewish, AAPI, artist and activist Chella Man has done more in his short life than most people achieve in their lifetimes. This includes a successful YouTube channel; TedX talk, modeling ...
|OP-ED The closet doors are opening 2021-03-30|
- (NOTE: The International Transgender Day of Visibility is March 31.) I recently learned that according to a new report, the number of people in this country who identify as LGBTQ has increased by 60% since 2012. ...