There are many stories about the trans experience at this year’s fringe. The National Theatre of Scotland’s Adam, one of a pair of pieces about trans lives, eloquently shows how the body is the one place from which we cannot escape.
Adam is a young Egyptian trans man who feels uneasy in his skin. He feels as if he has a man’s soul trapped within the body of a woman.
Fearing what would happen if he lived as his true self, he leaves Egypt for Scotland, and a new life in a cramped room in Glasgow. His physical and emotional journeys are not over though. He spends what little money he has on testosterone acquired online. He is so desperate he contemplates slicing off his breasts.
The emotional impact of the piece is enhanced by the fact Adam Kashmiry is telling his own story, making his professional stage debut in a show based on his own experiences. He plays opposite Neshla Caplan, embodying the girl he once was, the body he once inhabited, as well as the various women he encounters on his journey.
Designer Emily James has placed the stage on top of a nest of mannequin limbs. Cora Bissett’s production also features a 120-strong choir made up of trans individuals from across the world. These recorded voices and faces become the backdrop for Adam’s story. It is this moment of unity through music – albeit singing a slightly wishy-washy song – that gives this piece its power.