Vanessa: Look Mummy I’m Dancing
- Allan Radcliffe
- 16 April 2009
The profile and representation of transsexuals may have received a boost in recent years from such acclaimed films as Boys Don’t Cry and Transamerica, but there are still few opportunities for transsexual actors in the mainstream theatre and cinema. Belgian performer Vanessa Van Durme, who was born a boy in 1948 and underwent gender reassignment when the process was still in its infancy, has sought to redress this balance and tackle public prejudice head-on by bringing her highly personal monologue Look Mummy I’m Dancing to audiences around the world.
The piece, directed by Frank Van Laecke, is based on Van Durme’s own memoir of the same name, in which she wrote openly and movingly about her life, from studying drama and theatre at the Conservatory in Ghent as a young man, through to her sex change, which forced her to temporarily abandon her career in the theatre. Some 20 years later she began a successful career writing television comedies and stage plays, attracting a huge following as the longest running comedy act on Belgian radio. She returned to the stage when Belgian choreographer and theatre-maker Alain Platel cast her in Allemaal Indiaan, which she toured with for two years before joining the acclaimed Victoria theatre company.
While the monologue – which Van Durme has performed in four languages across Europe and America – is a lament to one person’s struggle for happiness, the performer also hopes to create tolerance and acceptance for transsexuals and people who are ‘different’ in general.
There will be a post-show discussion following the performance on Friday 17 April.
Tramway, Glasgow, Fri 17 & Sat 18 Apr