Category: Gardenia (2)
A cat has nine lives.
They have more.
And during their final life, they found each other in a safe ghetto.
If you sneak your way in, you can see them clawing, growling, and hissing.
And when the ghetto is demolished, all lives seem to have been used up.
The trip to nothingness is crushing.
Because even skin has a memory.
Inspired by the penetrating film Yo Soy Así (by Sonia Herman Dolz), in which the closing of a transvestite cabaret in Barcelona affords us a glimpse into the private lives of a memorable group of older artists, actress Vanessa Van Durme collected a number of transsexual and transvestite friends for a project that can be called unique in every respect. Gardenia is not a work of fiction. Gardenia is a singular account, the most intimate of tales. Read more »
When I attended a performance of Gardenia in Montreal during the groundbreaking Festival TransAmériques, I was humbled by the gripping authenticity of the show’s performers and the intimately personal quality of their performances. Much of theater is predicated on fooling an audience into believing a staged reality. But what happens when the performers live a life of pretend in order to be accepted socially?
In shows like La Cage aux Folles, men play women for effect, for entertainment, and only passing reference is made to the dilemmas of cross-dressing. Movies also have won large audiences when leading men have found it expedient to play women (think Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie and Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire). But what happens when a man chooses to be a woman in order to survive, to be real, and being entertaining is what is demanded of them by those who are watching—that is, by us? Read more »