Davis Plett's trans coming out story remarkably draws from Hamlet, a long Facebook conversation and fragments of childhood memories
805-4821 by Davis Plett (We Quit Theatre/SummerWorks). At the Toronto Media Arts Centre. Aug 12 at 8 pm, Aug 13 at 6:30 pm, Aug 14 at 9 pm, Aug 16 at 9:30 pm, Aug 17 at 7:30 pm. See listing. Rating: NNNNN
Writer/performer Davis Plett reveals their coming out story in a staggeringly insightful and poetic “text performance.”
The show – halfway between a solo performance and installation – is a compilation of excerpts from Hamlet, a Facebook conversation re-named The Novel and fragments of childhood memories. Plett reveals on an overhead projector, line by line, a narrative combining original work and Shakespearian text into extended poetry. The result, directed by Gislina Patterson, is a beautiful articulation of the kinds of experiences we’re only starting to find language for.
It’s a relaxed performance, so we’re free to move around and make as much noise as we need to, but the audience sits mostly in silence as we read, piece by piece, Plett’s struggle with past traumas, current conflicting desires and an imagined future ideal self.
Plett invites us to reimagine Hamlet and Ophelia’s struggles in fresh ways that speak to Plett’s relationship with their mother and their emerging identity it will resonate with anyone struggling to find ways to unveil unwelcome or seemingly shameful personal truths.
They provide audio descriptions of the images and text presented on screen in the form of personalized mp3 players. I started by listening to one, but found I liked the experience of reading better – and there is something powerful about the experience of reading along with the rest of the audience while allowing these words to take shape in the privacy of my own mind.
If, like me, you find yourself wanting to return to Plett’s text, they have bound copies available for $10.