“This is a Thelma & Louise for our times”

Female Arts

 

“Can’t remember the time I have laughed and cried so much in the theatre.

Secklow Sounds.

 

TRAILER/trash by Mike Elliston.
An important new play exploring the narrative of Female to Male (FTM) transitioning for audiences who also love a good story.

 

TRAILER/trash is a project very dear to my heart. Already, there have been three versions of it in production:

- with Famous & Divine (2012) when we accidentally burnt the theatre down (The Hen & Chickens, London) during the production run and all our dreams went up in smoke...Directed by David Verrey and featuring Mary Steadman as Dottie and Amanda Price as Frankie.

- as an Arts Council funded Research & Development work in progress, mentored by Timberlake Wertenbaker, as I re-imagined the narrative and characters (played in London and Cambridge). A co-production with thesalon:collective, it was direceted by Dominic Kelly and featured Gracy Goldman and later Karlina Paseda-Grace as Shyanne (the replacement character for Dottie) and Ellie Coleman as Frankie.


Developed with Arts Council funding.

Previews and tour in 2018.

 

To read the ACE R&D Audience Feedback Survey, click here

To read the ACE R&D Audience evaluation results, click here

 

Frankie & Shyanne’s  lives could be the plot of their very own movie: they’re the stars, they just don’t know it, yet. 

 

TRAILER/trash is a project very dear to my heart.  Already, there have been three versions of it in production:

 

- with Famous & Divine (2012) when we accidentally burnt the theatre down (The Hen & Chickens, London) during the production run and all our dreams went up in smoke...Directed by David Verrey and featuring Mary Steadman as Dottie and Amanda Price as Frankie.

- as an Arts Council funded Research & Development work in progress, mentored by Timberlake Wertenbaker, as I re-imagined the narrative and characters (played in London and Cambridge).  A co-production with thesalon:collective, it was direceted by Dominic Kelly and featured Gracy Goldman as Shyanne (the replacement character for Dottie) and Ellie Coleman as Frankie.

 - TRAILER/trash is now in further development with a tour planned for 2018 in collaboration with the salon:collective

Amanda Price (Frankie) and Mary Steadman (Dottie)

 

Photo: Mike Elliston

Gracy Goldman (Shyanne) & Ellie Coleman (Frankie)

 

Photo: Monica del Vecchio

 

CLICK on image to read the outcome of the  R&D audience feedback.

 

Growing up, Shyanne was the apple of her daddy’s eye and life was everything she ever dreamed of. Until one day he disappeared and her momma went off the rails.   Things were never quite the same after that, especially when Shyanne figured out she could use her female assets to make easy money by dancing in the nude.

 

Frankie was “daddy’s little girl”, but something inside her was screaming that God made a mistake and gave her the wrong body.  Making that announcement was when her daddy tried to kill him.  It was time to escape to a city miles away from danger.

 

A chance meeting, Fate steps in, and both their lives are changed forever.  And two misfits find comfort in each other’s world.   For the first time, together, they make a place they can call “home”.

 

A trailer park, in deepest, darkest Texas.  Home is where they close out the hostile world around them.  Home is where differences can be forgotten, and shame is a dirty word.   This is where they know it doesn’t matter that the rest of the world thinks they’re trash. Because they’ve learned to love themselves and each other, they’ve accepted they don’t fit the mould and most of all, they believe that just around the corner, the good times will roll for them once and for all.  And that’s something worth paying the ultimate price for.  But will their movie have a happy ending?

 

It's a buddy movie without the popcorn, a road trip without a car.  

 

Playing against type and exploring the American Dream, sexual exploitation and gender identity, TRAILER/trash is a fierce comedy that embraces the young and feisty Frankie, a waitress in a  backwater diner who hates her job, her body and longs to be a man, and an ageing Afro-American stripper, Shyanne, who dreams of becoming a star in Las Vegas but who has lived too long with a lifetime of regrets.

 

I call this "trash theatre"; their lives are lived out in a theatrical version of a movie set, somewhere deeply south in the USA. Despite fragments of seemingly empty lives played out in front of their imaginary audience, Frankie and Shyanne remain rich and colourful in their dreams since these represent the hope of better things to come.  It's the American Dream, after all.

 

And who would argue with that?

 

Are you ready to ride?

 

Research sources

I am immensely grateful to the following who have, or who are, supporting me with their generous time and information:

 

The Beaumont Society

Stonewall

The London FTM Group

The East London Strippers' Collective

 

Thank also to

Timberlake Wertenbaker

Rikki Beadle Blair

SJ Jacobs

 

LGBTQ Arts Review