Thursday, February 17, 2011

Last saturday I was talking about empathy.

About how it matters in theatre - in fact theatre is impossible without it.

It's fundamental to my job as a playwright that I am able to feel what it's like to be someone else.

And I need the verbal skill to convey that feeling in words in a way that enables an actor to speak the lines: and so embody someone else. Which means I also need to be able to feel what it is to be an actor. And all my colleagues also, so I can work with them too.

It forms an essential part of what gives the audience pleasure: so they can be drawn into the experience of another human being.

It is part of what makes us human. What makes love happen between human beings. What enables human society to be.

It's a powerful political force. It is what was uniting the crowds in Tahrir Square, and all over Egypt, and what is fuelling political resistance in the Middle East right now. A shared sense of each others' sufferings; and a shared determination not to put up with them any longer.

In that sense, authorities fear this solidarity.

I was speaking of all this because i was leading a writers' workshop at the Traverse; and I spoke also about how, as a transsexual woman, I had suffered because the prejudice to which I have been exposed prevents my fellow human beings from seeing me fully as a human being.

Reactionary forces exploit this prejudice for their own ends; and I think of this tonight because I have just been told The Sun is publishing an article attacking Creative Scotland's decision to give me a grant to turn "Jesus Queen Of Heaven" into a book.

It's sad the tabloids are using me as ammunition against Creative Scotland, just as they used me as ammunition against Glasgay.

But deep down it confirms to me that I am right.

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