Friday, April 14, 2017

Love Games: Why Representation Matters

I am excited to begin production of Love Games and I am honestly eager to see what everyone will bring to the table. Love Games, written by Heaven Carreon, is the story of two men, who are dating the same women without their consent- aka, she's cheating on them. Together, with the help of a sweet but spiteful best friend, they must find a way to "get revenge" and tie loose ends in this melo-dramatic tale of love, loss, and lingerie.  

Love Games is especially precious to me because it deals with Queer characters. The representation of LGBTQ+ people in media and television is slim, white, and virtually non-existant. The little representation that does exist usually exploits the character's non-heterosexual identity, usually making them a sob story to gain pitty points, and completely erases bisexuality(+) entirely. Transgender people never even show up unless they're a prostitute. Sex work is not something to be ashamed of, but it's also not an accurate catch-all for trans people of every identity. Therefore, I have made it a constant practice to "queer up spaces" as we call it. I am especially vocal and intentional about it in theatre- since theatre is the art of presenting humanity. Queer and trans people are human, so why don't we see them on stage.   

Don't even get me started on Queer-baiting! (When an author/director/etc. gives hints, and clever twists to paint a character as possibly being queer, to satisfy queer audiences, but never outright says they are so they can keep their heterosexual audience.) This is especially frustrating to actual LGBTQ+ people, and even harmful to us when delivered to heterosexual and/or cisgender audiences. That is why Heaven decided to go all the way with her characters. Their sexuality is explicit, it is natural, and it isn't a roadblock in their story. We're not tip-toeing around it but we're also not getting hung up on it.  

Yes, queer and trans people struggle against cisheteronormative society in their lives and, yes, are also very often put in danger- murdered even. Especially trans femme/women of color are more likely to be murdered simply for existing. Yes, that is true and deserves attention and fixing. But we also have lives around that. We have struggls that do not pertain to our identities in the slightest. And by cornering us exclusively to this sob-story, martyr archetype, it removes us from reality which then leads to perpetuated violence and laws that remove our human rights. That is why these stories are important to me. That is why, as an aspiring director, I want to push aside a portion of the hetero-normative theatre content to make room for intersectional stories. That is why Love Games is important to me; like a precious child.   

This is normally where people say "rant over" to signal they are done bothering you with their frustrations but I'm not going to say that. Because my work is far from over. I hope you too can enjoy this journey with me.

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