Seen at Ovalhouse Theatre in London on the 18th October, 2019
4 stars – destructive power
Loud noise, sweat and dust. For a performance that breaks the rules, breaks every boundary, and literally tears down the theatre.
The stage exists no more, in its place, soil, and a hole, bigger and bigger as it is dug out. Emma Frankland has reunited four other performers from all over the world, to dig together, together to feel their bodies, and find a safe space to talk about their identity as transsexual women.
Morgan M Page digs to find an ancestor, a past to people like her. Gein Wong knows the secrets hidden in buds and seeds. Tamarra, from Indonesia, has a cheeta-cheeta, a desire that Tamarra can now realise. Despite their exuberating strength, Travis Alabanza can’t reach their aims without the community around them.
With this new, subversive performance, Emma Frankland creates fresh metaphors and destroys old prejudices. Her power on stage is unchanged, but this time, thanks to the other performers, she can afford to show some weakness, she can wear a violent and distrusting silence.
From the exhaustion of the bodies who dig (dig to feel, dig to hide, dig to live), to the confident calm of the confession, and from the feeling of community to the pneumatic drill, which echoes into the noise of helicopter blades: this performance is composite, it is built in dialogue and through combined inspirations. Every performer has a different style, and this coexistence becomes the very essence of the show.
Even if not all moments are perfectly sewn together, and the spectator needs some time to adapt his/her/their expectations to this unique performance, it is a successful one. It cannot be proved it scientifically, but in the end, every girl, woman, trans individual, man, guy, child, senior, were looking in the eyes of one another, being answered with a warm smile. Emma, Travis, Morgan, Gein and Tamarra manage to create a sense of community that goes beyond the dust cloud raising from the hole where there used to be a stage.
4th – 19th October 2019, 7.30 pm
Running time: 70 minutes
Ovalhouse Theatre, 52 – 54 Kennington Oval, London SE11 5SW
Tickets and Info: https://www.ovalhouse.com/whatson/detail/we-dig
Company website: https://www.notyetarobot.co.uk/