This is a Big Deal
- What? The Big Deal
- Where? Project Arts Centre
- When? Until 5 Nov 2011 at 8:15pm
- How much? Tickets €16/14/12
It’s 10.30pm on Tuesday night. I have just finished your recent email. You are now on the way to recovery. You are here now as you should have been and will be until the day you die. So whilst I struggle slowly onward and upward, you are already there.
Following the hugely successful premiere of The Big Deal at The Kilkenny Arts Festival 2011, Una McKevitt (Victor and Gord, 565+) brings us an extraordinary real life story of two women who knew from a very young age that they were born into the wrong bodies.
Scripted from original material provided by the contributors – including journals, poems, songs and interviews –The Big Deal charts the incredible personal gains and losses each has made to become the women they have always been.
Gaelick’s HAL spoke with Una McKevitt about the play.
HAL: So, tell us all about the play.
Una: The show presents the real life experiences of two women and charts the personal gains and losses each has made to become the women they have always been. The show is performed by two actresses, Una Kavanagh and Shani Williams.
The two contributors have provided all the text in the play, both kept diaries whilst undergoing gender re-assignment surgery detailing the physical and emotional journey that entailed. The diaries were a departure point for the production but through interviews each contributor has also shared details of their lives before surgery; how the different challenges they have encountered and how their relationships with their loved ones; parent, siblings, partners, children; have shaped their lives.
Our work in this production has been to try and express theatrically the stories the contributors have shared with us and, in turn, with the audience. The contributors are close friends, this friendship is an important feature of the play, and both women have made a decision to share their stories anonymously to protect the privacy of both themselves and their families.
HAL: Where did you come across these women’s stories? When did you think “This will make a good play”?
Una: The contributors are friends of mine and knew of the work I do in documentary theatre. We often spoke together of the theatrical possiblities of a journal that includes correspondance between them and thisispopbaby gave us the opportunity to present a work in progress during their Queer Notions Festival at Project Arts Centre in December 2010. With the help of An Arts Council grant we were then able to develop this work and premiere it at The Kilkenny Arts Festival 2011.
HAL: Without giving too much away, can you tell us their stories?
Una: Whilst we do present details of the physical surgery the women went through during transition, the real heart of the play lies in the details of the women’s friendship and the impact their transition has had on their relationships with their families.
It is also a personal account of the resilience of the human spirit and the profound significance of personal realisation which is something we believe everyone can relate to.
HAL: Did you talk to other trans* people when getting the play together? Do you feel any pressure to represent the trans* community here, as there is very little representation out there?
Una: We wanted to present the stories of two individuals rather than attempt to make a statement about the wider transgender experience and so the personal histories in the show are particular to the two contributors.
We hope through this microcosm we are presenting a story that resonates with anyone who has come through difficult challenges in their personal lives.
It is of course important to us that this production reaches out to the transgender community here in Ireland and we are following the matinee November 5th with a panel discussion ‘We Are Family’ chaired by TENI director Broden Giambrone to highlight the different supports in place for Transgender people and their families.
- The Big Deal runs at the Project Arts Centre until 5th November. Tickets are priced at €16/14/12.
- The Big Deal at The Project Arts
- Una McKevitt on Gaelick
- Una McKevitt’s blog
- Una McKevitt on Facebook