Tricyclic Transform – A Genderqueer Musical cabaret
Thursday 20/07: Trans and Non-Binary conference, Brighton University (short 30 min version).
Dreams Before Dawn, Festival of International Performance, Théâtre de Ménilmontant, Paris, July 2017.
Brighton Fringe, May 2017 (Premiere).
Solo musical cabaret exploring genderqueer identity with songs and drag. Join Miss Liliane, ‘biologically-challenged drag-queen’, round the gender wheel as they try to negotiate restrictive gender-roles by performing symbolic rituals and re-enacting iconic songs, trying on gender identities as they try on clothes and pitches. From heart-wrenching jazz diva standards to the pissed-off ladies of gritty blues and Brecht, from the broken men protest songs of Johnny Cash, Scott Walker and Jacques Brel, to the gender-fuck anthems of Marc Almond and Boy George, with sprinkles of ‘Victor Victoria’ and ‘La Cage aux Folles’, ‘Tricyclic Transform’ mixes popular alt-drag cabaret with live-art aesthetics including on-stage costume change, breast binding and destroying make-up. Judith Butler takes on RuRaul Drag Race!
Arty concept teaser
‘Tricyclic Transform’ is a solo queer musical cabaret show. Recognising singing and the invention of alternate persona as key catalysts in the creation of queer identity, it theatricalizes the genderqueer experience by documenting the creation and self-destruction of my ‘biologically-challenged drag-queen’ alter-ego Miss Liliane. They try to negotiate restrictive gender-roles by performing symbolic rituals and re-enacting iconic songs, but the inability of their mind to comfortably inhabit any predefined role causes them to get trapped in an endless loop of repeated, pointless gestures. ‘Tricyclic Transform’ presents gender as a cyclical spectrum: Miss Liliane tries on gender identities as they try on clothes and pitches. But each time new inner conflicts arise, propelling them further round the gender wheel, until they come back full circle, to a genderless, endlessly questioning, naked body.
The full-length show lasts about 70 minutes and has 20 songs spanning several genres (Torch songs, jazz, musicals, gospel, European Cabaret/Chanson, ‘storytelling’ songs by performers such as Johnny Cash, Scott Walker), united by a dramatic delivery focusing on character interpretation and organised in 4 parts: Sacrificial femininity, Lilith (Predatory Femininity), Androgyne, Dionysos (Broken Man). The theatrical presentation mixes popular alt-drag cabaret with live-art and body-art aesthetics including: on-stage costume change signifying gender transitions, breast binding, destroying make-up. Judith Butler takes on RuRaul Drag Race!
Tricyclic Transform goes beyond the ‘private confessional’ nature of many queer solo performance to explore a full spectrum of psychological perspectives and gender archetypes. Using aesthetics inspired by ‘Lynchian’ cabaret and German Expressionism to represent alienation, it explores the psychological effect of enforced gender roles on individuals, and how the oppression comes from their enforced and restrictive nature rather than any particular role: in the end, toxic masculinity proves just as damaging as traditional ‘victim’ femininity.