‘NERVE: Stories of Queer Resilience’ offers voice to local LGBTQ spectrum on RTP stage
NERVE: Stories of Queer Resilience started out as a passion project for many involved, but has ended up as nothing short of inspiring.
The project is a collaboration between Richmond Triangle Players, TheatreLAB, the Virginia Anti-Violence Project, and other members of the community. With a style described by the director, Melissa Reyford, as similar to The Vagina Monologues, NERVE is a 45 minute performance comprised of actors portraying different vignettes of characters– some solo and some group. The performance included the aid of both sound and light supplements. The pieces were all original works, with a majority being written by their creative team.
The second piece in the line-up, 5 Simple Steps to Being Bullied, was written in part by the Spectrum Team, a collaboration project between different organizations geared towards being a productive creative outlet for LGBTQ youth in the community. 5 Steps bluntly brought both humor and humbling perspective to the way America has dealt with bullying thus far. Advice like, “Just ignore them, if you don’t react they’ll have no reason to bother you,” or “tell an adult what’s going on” sound familiar to most who have attended public school at any point.
As the writers so eloquently explained, however, those attacks are often fueled and sustained by “adults,” and reactions are not necessarily the end goal.
NERVE did a brilliant job of highlighting and supporting human intersectionality.
The performance focused on tribulations of the LGBTQ community, but didn’t forget that those identify on the spectrum who still face racial struggles and language barriers. Quite often, individuals are forced to chose one aspect of their identity to represent. This leaves many who are at the intersection of different minorities left behind. I.e. Black Queer women, Trans women of color, Queer individuals who speak English as second language, etc.
Resilience is an appropriate title for this performance, but another important theme was accountability. It was blunt, and instead of hiding behind facades or worrying about offending the offensive, it called out the behavior that we as communities need to change.
Dear Straight People was the most forthcoming, addressing the majority about its consistent micro and macro aggressions. Misgendering, being “tolerant” or assumptive– just a few examples of commonplace behavior by cisgender straight people.
Because of the lack of cohesion, the LGBTQ community was also addressed in the latter part of this piece. The writers made a point to say that marriage equality was never the end goal, and that “the fight isn’t over.”
There are still alarming rates of LGBTQ youth homelessness (even here in Richmond), the lack of HIV/AIDS education and treatment in poor communities, heightened police brutality, and alarming hate crime rates against trans people.
There is a still a lot of work to do, but trans correspondent and founder of the Nationz Foundation Zakia McKensey said, “We have to stick together.”
The performance was followed by a talkback with the cast, creative team, and VAVP staff. The audience was invited to stay at the beginning of the performance, and we were all captivated enough to stay behind and hear the conversation to follow.
NERVE isn’t a concrete work– It’s going to evolve and stay relevant with the passage of time. You can catch another performance of this version on the 22nd of January, housed at Richmond Triangle Players.
Photo via VAVP‘s Lindsay Garcia
The play begins, before the lights go up. There’s a curious series of hollow thuds; the steady and determined force of a high school girl’s fists against her own stomach. The politics of women’s bodies is hardly an unpopular topic and is perhaps no better demonstrated than by the country’s divided opinions on abortion. Dry [...]April 24, 2017
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