Danielle Ferrier: You recently had a workshop production at IRT Theater of your new play “R Culture”. How did that go? Where are you hoping to see this project go? What is important about “R Culture”?
Shakina Shares it All!
1) What do you see happening in terms of challenging the status quo in theatre as we know it as a woman, or more specifically as a trans woman?
As a transfeminist I'm really big on visibility and demystification, which is why I've been so public with the process of my transition. For me the biggest issue right now is representation. What stories are being told, and who is telling them? There's been a great upwelling of advocacy for women playwrights in the past couple years, with the Lilly Awards and the Kilroys, which are both expanding to include transfolk in their mission. I think we need to be doing the same for transgender performers. It's great that more trans roles are being written, but are we seeking out and cultivating trans actors to play those roles?
2) Who are some of your favourite artists or inspirations?
I think with POST-OP I'm working somewhere between Kate Bornstein's "Queer and Pleasant Danger", Bridget Everett's "Rock Bottom," and Spalding Gray's "Swimming to Cambodia." Of course, in many ways my life choices have been informed by Hedwig and the Angry Inch and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, so there's a little bit of Richard O'Brien/Tim Curry and John Cameron Mitchell/Stephen Trask in what I'm doing, like all the time. Also Cheri Lovedog and Robin Prey's "Prey for Rock n Roll" and Jayne County and The Electric Chairs, the original Transgender Punk Rock Star.
3) What can we expect from your new show Post-Op?
A lot of high belting and graphic over-sharing.
4) How does it relate to past work and what is different about it?
POST-OP is very much a companion piece to ONE WOMAN SHOW, my last solo piece. ONE WOMAN SHOW covered 33 years of my life leading up to my gender transition, and POST-OP covered the 6 weeks that I spent in Thailand before, during, and after gender confirmation surgery. Both pieces get at the emotional drive, spiritual quest, and political implications of forging a transgender identity. Something I'm really excited about with POST-OP is that, while ONE WOMAN SHOW was a mix of covers and original tunes, POST-OP is all original. It's really a solo musical. I wrote the book and about half of the lyrics, and I collaborated with some incredible composers on the music: Joel Waggoner, Zoe Sarnak, Ty Defoe, Tidtaya Sinutoke, Michael R. Jackson, Sam Salmond, Julianne Wick Davis, Teresa Lotz, Lauren Marcus, Shaina Taub. Julianne, Sam, and Joel also created songs for ONE WOMAN SHOW, so it's cool to have their musical voices back in this piece.
5) What message are you hoping to send?
I'm trying to take something that was both deeply personal to me and very specific my trans experience, and create a story that has a universal point of entry: The quest to become your true self, and to find harmony within your physical body as a spiritual and sexual being. I think a lot of people wrestle this, whether or not they are transgender. I hope people can be inspired by my journey of gender confirmation, and that they can find the courage to venture out in search of whatever they need to confirm within themselves.
An Interview with NYMadness
Recently Cecilia Copeland from NYMadness caught up with Works By Women to discuss gender parity in theatre. Her carefully thought out questions were answered by 3 of our own: Ludovica Villar-Hauser, founder of Works by Women, administrator, Teresa Lotz, and past associate Blaire O’Leary. To get a great in-depth look at the message our incredible women stand behind take a look at this informative article!
Below is an excerpt from the interview. To read the entire article click here!!
About the Authors
Works by Women supports theatrical work written, directed, and/or designed by women* by promoting their work on our website, in the press and on social media. This website serves as a tool for both theatergoers and professionals alike. We list productions that have at least a 50% female creative team, and highlight women's theatre companies and advocacy groups.