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Trans Scripts

Jay Knowles, Bianca Leigh, Carolyn M Smith, Rebecca Root, Calpernia Addams and Catherine Fitzgerald in Trans Scripts, the Pleasance, Edinburgh. Photo: Colin Hattersley Jay Knowles, Bianca Leigh, Carolyn M Smith, Rebecca Root, Calpernia Addams and Catherine Fitzgerald in Trans Scripts, the Pleasance, Edinburgh. Photo: Colin Hattersley
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Identity is something that none of us should take for granted, and, as explored in Paul Lucas’ compelling play of transgender women talking about the realities and dreams of their lives, questioning the identity of others throws back more than a few universal truths for us all.

Gradually, through interleaved narratives, six actresses tell their personal histories, in the process piecing together the jigsaw of their common experiences. What they don’t want is your pity – what they do want is for you to listen. They commiserate with each other over being bullied as children and shunned as adults, argue the finer points of reassignment and couture, hotly debate the subject of what to add to their bodies and what to take away.

Calpernia Addams, Jay Knowles, Bianca Leigh, Rebecca Root, Carolyn Michelle Smith and Catherine Fitzgerald weave around each other onstage, guided with precision by director Linda Ames Key, supremely focused on each other’s performances. The fact their voices are very New York-focused means the non-Americans in the pack inadvertently create moments of cultural clash that trip up the script, particularly when perennial US horrors crop up, such as the threats of life-threatening violence or the crippling levels of medical bills.

Nevertheless, never once descending into sentimentality, they take you on a journey that celebrates their own differences from each other – here you’ll meet glamorous and sassy of course, but also frumpy and even suspiciously goth. And diversity such as this is precisely their point.

Verdict
Compelling exploration of the lives of transgender women takes you on a celebratory journey
Nick Awde
Nick Awde is the co-editor of The Stage’s international section and general secretary of the new UK Centre of the International Theatre Institute
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