Saturday, April 12, 2008

13th April
It's strange how hard it is for me simply to enjoy and celebrate success.
I was in Dublin for the opening of "Life is a Dream" at the Project Arts Centre.
The company putting it on (Rough Magic) are so kind; the space is great for the play; the production and the actors are all fantastic.
I had such a good time there.
Yet it's taken me almost a fortnight to even acknowledge that; and far from taking the time to enjoy the success - because audiences love it, the reviews are good.. this is a success... - I come home and embark on the next impossible struggle.
And reproach myself because it's taking me so long.
And I'm driving myself again. Driving myself relentlessly forward.
I owe so much to this play.
So much to Calderon for teaching me who I am.
So much to this play, which has re-emerged now, in the midst of such a crisi, as if to encourage me and reinforce me and strengthen me in what I am trying to do.
So much to the cast and company and crew for working so hard so brilliantly to make it happen.
And taking such good care of me.
The story is of a father who imprisons his son in a tower from the moment of his birth.
I remember learning segismundo's first monologue and performing it in the big Traverse for Amnesty, I think it was. It was my first formal experience of performing a monologue for ever so long (and alerted me to the fact I could become a performer).
Afterwards someone wrote to me and said: "You were performing your own experience. Of being a prisoner in your transsexuality: a prisoner of shame and guilt".
In the play, the king is imprioning his son to prevent him understanding who he really is.
It's only now that I've begun to understand that my parents, too, tried their absolute utmost to prevent me understanding who I am.
And they knew. In their heart of hearts they knew: although they were not able to openly acknowledge it.
Because it was as impossible for them to accept it as it was at first for me.
But this intensely male atmosphere in which I was brought up; this sending me to schools were there was such emphasis on making 'men' out of the boys sent to them; this seperating me from the theatre, even... (I must have been 13 or 14 before I was taken to the theatre!)
And yet it completely failed, as it does in the play.
I have become the person they feared I would become.
But (also as in the play) that becoming is a huge triumph.

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