As I writer, I strive to balance theory with practical application. I am not interested in writing just for the academy. I want to write for theater-makers, for artists, for queer folx, for people like me who rarely find writing that represents us in the canon. I am often writing to fill gaps in institutional knowledges, to call out into a void and hope other artists echo back. I write about queer & trans performance, about making theater in and for community, about un-doing as much as doing.
I am also deeply disinterested in paywalls. So I am making as much of my work available here as is legally possible.
I have also made several of my dramaturgical writings (actor's packets, program notes, etc.) available on my Play Work page. Please contact me if you want to use any of this work for a production.
And because I am a huge nerd, I also write fanfic! Contact me for my AO3 :)
The Name (isn’t a) Game: New Explorations in Trans Applied Theatre
Building on work in my MFA thesis, this essay details one aspect of my trans applied theatre work: naming. Applied theatre work offers a space to use theatre techniques to unpack and work through community issues. For this group of transgender applied theatre artists, the task at hand is naming: what does it mean for a trans person to choose a new name? to reconnect with a given name? to ask for community support in naming? This piece tracks the process and experiences of one troupe exploring trans naming through a new set of applied theatre exercises. These exercises culminate in Trans Naming Rituals—performances where trans participants claim their identities and ask for community recognition.
TRANSgressive Acts: Adapting Applied Theatre Techniques for a Transgender Community
This MFA Thesis traces my work as a joker (a la Theatre of the Oppressed) and facilitator through a three-year-long project with a trans applied theatre troupe. The troupe explored several techniques, including Image Theatre, Playback Theatre, storytelling exercises, and somatic movement. In three semester-long workshops, the troupe focused work around three sets of techniques. In the first workshop, the troupe explored the community-based interview process of Undesirable Elements, as designed by Ping Chong in collaboration with Talvin Wilks and Sara Zatz. These techniques were interrogated using queer and trans temporalities. In the second unit, the troupe practiced Augusto Boal’s “Cops in the Head” techniques from The Rainbow of Desire, utilizing a sociological perspective to examine the “ghosts” these techniques produce. In the final semester, I devised techniques specifically for and about transgender people, invoking trans theory and queer theory to explore issues of naming, trauma, and trans possibilities. Through this work I argue that techniques designed for cisgender bodies require adaptation to find success in transgender communities. I argue that the future of this work is not transforming existing techniques to suit our needs, rather it is creating techniques with transgender bodies and identities at the core. Read my thesis here.