A group of young people from our Dundee groups attended a performance of the National Theatre of Scotland's acclaimed double bill of plays: Eve and Adam. Ryan Petrie, one of the attendees, wrote about the impact the two plays had on him:
Life, Magic, Tears, Love
It can be unanimously agreed that when you sit in the theatre waiting for the show to start, there are seconds of wild anticipation that flit through your mind. Insane images of how it may look, what the others characters might be like – if there are any – and what will you think of the long, heartrending monologues (there’s enough of them in modern theatre now,) that provide something to think about, something to feel. All these things flit through my mind when I sit in the stalls, looking down on the stage.
There was no curtain tonight, but there wasn’t need for one.
On came Jo, sitting on a large fibre-glass box which would, later on, light up on the recounting of the first time they ever tried LSD – granted this was some time ago, so we can excuse them this, I think – and she told us her story. Being born in the ’fifties, growing up in boarding schools, preparatory schools, moving out, falling in love, growing old, great loss, and then finally finding themselves as she truly was. It took a long time, she admitted, but she got there. And hurrah to her for it.
Speaking with Jo was a joy - for there was a 45-minute wait till the performance of Adam - and we, as a group, got to talk about the piece and what it is to be transgender today.
Jo’s life story was poignant, powerful, visceral, and above all relatable. There are many among us who have gone through the troubles she has, though it may seem impossible in this day and age – and she hit upon the troubles in America when it comes to transgender people. Gender neutral toilets are mentioned, and the subject is one that I am sure many gender neutral and transgender people have experienced, and the great fear and frustration that comes with it. There is a degree of happiness for their having found themselves and allowed them to now be who they truly are, but there is a sadness to it all, too. A profound sadness for both mother and wife who both were lost to illness. One couldn’t help but cry for it.
Then came Adam.
The 45 minutes were up, and we were excited. And this story, more contemporary than Eve, hit home in a very profound and powerful way. About immigration, the struggle to find who one is, the arguments inside us, the other side, the other half. From Egypt to Scotland, there is much hope and hopelessness, feelings of abandonment and of being trapped in not only one’s own body but of the situation they find themselves in.
It’s powerful, it’s raw, it’s astonishing, it’s emotional.
There was not a section in it that was meant to be emotionally impactful that I was not affected by, and I didn’t cry... I sobbed.
In the end, there seems hope and happiness. And it is ended with a song. A song that not only makes one weep but gives one the sense of validation that they might never have received. That is the magic of the LGBT community: we are a global family, and we look after our own, and we fight for the right to be people, and who we are.
Throughout the play, as Adam told their story, I could not help but relate and cry, for there are words that strike home all too deep, and there are wounds in us all that may be affected. But this is a dual show that is well worth seeing. It is more than worthy of its success, for it educates, it touches, it breaks hearts, but it gives hope in the end. Hope we all need.
And to that end, I say God speed to the production and all who work on it. One of the best stage experiences I have ever had.
A massive thank you to Jo and to Adam for telling us their stories, powerfully, symbolically, and with poignancy and great care and love.