Trans identity seems to be very much in the public eye at the moment, but a lot of the stories in mainstream media seem to be focused on the stories of trans women. The role of the trans man, whether it’s less glamorous or perhaps more hidden, is one that seems to have been somewhat downplayed. But Rhum and Clay in collaboration with Kit Redstone’s British Council Showcase play Testosterone is less a play about trans identity and more a play about what it is to be a man, seen uniquely though the eyes of someone who has been watching, and wondering, how to be a man most of his life.
Following an outstanding run at London’s West End, The Kite Runner has landed in Birmingham and it is one of the most enthralling yet haunting productions I’ve seen on stage.
Adapted by Matthew Spangler from Afghan-American Khaled Hosseini’s bestselling novel of the same name, The Kite Runner tells a powerful father-son story of redemption, spanning several countries and generations. It’s a powerful story that has already translated well onto a successful film, but after a raft of positive reviews for its West End run, the production has gone on a UK tour.
During the never-ending bout of the flu I ended up listening to some podcasts whilst in the bath. One I came across was Call Your Girlfriend, a podcast for ‘long-distance besties everywhere’. Perfect, I wanted something easy to listen to that was chatty, accessible and that might teach me something without requiring a whole lot of thinking.
It was there that I first heard the phrase ‘Shine Theory’ an idea that has been floating around for a while, but thanks to an article by Ann Friedman at The Cut, I finally have a name for. Shine Theory is simple, it’s the idea of supporting and empowering other women to celebrate their successes and celebrating with them. Rather than thinking another woman’s success puts you in their shadow, realise that when a friend has the spotlight on them, it shines on their friends too.
Roxane Gay, in How to Be Friends With Another Woman, one of the essays in her Bad Feminist book, puts it brilliantly; “If you and your friend(s) are in the same field and you can collaborate or help each other, do this, without shame. It’s not your fault your friends are awesome.” In fact, there are so many Shine Theory style pearls of wisdom in How to Be Friends With Another Woman that it’s well worth reading this excerpt.
Celebrating 50 years since Elvis Presley’s ’68 Comeback Special,’ This is Elvis showing at The New Alexandra Theatre is a captivating part tribute act, part play which really brings the best of The King to modern audiences.
This is Elvis tells the story behind Presley’s monumental return to performing live for the first time in seven years, pivoting away from his film career back to his musical roots. More than a tribute show, the play charts the self-doubt and tensions behind the NBC show that became known as Elvis’ 68 Comeback Special and ultimately relaunched his music career. But it doesn’t shy away from the darker sides of The King’s return, depicting the fractious relationship with manager Colonel Tom Parker and avoidance of wife Priscilla, as well as self-doubt about his relevance to audiences of the time and hints at his alcohol and drug dependency.
There’s not a lot I can do at the moment, as I’ve been struck down with the lurgy, but the good folk at Flatpack Festival have released their line-up and I’ve been having a look through it.
Returning for a ten-day festival of cinematic invention and audio-visual delights, #flatpack12 has yet another a great line-up this spring. Running from 13-22 April 2018, Swedish witchcraft, animated sushi, teenage mermaids, silent trapeze and Shakespearean puppets are just a few of the delights. And if that’s just a few of the selected highlights, then you know there’s going to be so much more creativity in store.
We Are The Lions Mr Manager is the poignant, funny and heartfelt the true story of Jayaben Desai, hero of the Grunwick strike in the 70s.
Freshly arrived in England after leaving the newly-independent Tanzania and a childhood growing up in Gujarat in India, England is not what Mrs Desai expected; from the houses to the weather to the discrimination felt by South Asians trying to find employment. She begins working in the Grunwick Film Processing Factory, where the manager is a bully and overtime is mandatory – after all, you signed the contact, the workers are told.
One day, Mrs Desai has enough of the treatment and confronts the manager with a firework of a line; “What you are running here is not a factory, it is a zoo. But in a zoo there are many types of animals. Some are monkeys who dance on your fingertips, others are lions who can bite your head off. We are the lions, Mr. Manager.” And with that she promptly resigns, and starts what was to become one of the longest and most important industrial disputes in British history.
February has been a much busier month than I expected. Firstly it was my birthday, which was relatively low key this year, because I finally got to see Hamilton the day after (having booked the tickets well over a year ago). Two people close to me both gave birth to their first children, so I’ve been getting baby updates, and my friend is dog-sitting so not only are there regular pics from her, but I got to have a birthday lunch with Misha the dog.