‘Anarchic’ LGBT play promises ‘unforgettable night’ at Stratford Theatre Royal
- Credit: � Jane Hobson
Writer Alexis Gregory delves into the darker side of life within the gay and trans community with his inaugural play, Slap.
Glamorous transsexual hooker Dominique (played by Gregory) is in the throes of an emotional meltdown while her drug-addicted boyfriend Danny is losing touch with the real world.
Directed by Rikki Beadle-Blair, considered to be one of the most influential gay men in Britain, the 70-minute piece is set in the intimate surrounds of the studio theatre at the Theatre Royal Stratford East.
The audience can expect an immersive experience as they sit inches from the action, explains Gregory, who first wrote the play in 2012 as part of the Newham theatre’s own new writing festival known as Angelic Tales.
He says: “This is real and its raw. It’s really showing a sub culture in life. I would also say this is not a preachy play. Any idea of political correctness is out the window – the only way I could tackle these issues is with humour.
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“It’s anarchic, it’s punk. It isn’t tip-toeing around anything. We are in heels so if we were tip-toeing you would hear us!”
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Last year saw same-sex marriage finally recognised by law in the UK, while this year has given the world arguably its most famous transgender personality in reality star and former Olympian Caitlin Jenner.
Added to that, January will see Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne portray one of the first people to undergo gender reassignment surgery, artist Lili Elbe, in film The Danish Girl.
So did Gregory, who is openly gay and has transsexual friends, feel any pressure in representing the community to which his character Dominique belongs?
“I don’t feel any pressure but I do feel a responsibility,” he says. “To walk down the street as a trans man or a trans woman is still putting your neck on the line.
“I know this from walking down the street with my friend. You’re still stared at and still asked completely inappropriate questions.”
But in spite of the weight of political change carried by the play, Gregory admits to relishing the opportunity to play the “full on” Dominique.
“She’s a lot of fun to play,” he says. “She’s a very full on character. Even as the play’s writer I’m still finding new things in it. I’m saying lines differently. That’s exciting.”
While not written with the direct intentions of shocking, Gregory admits it is still a “provocative” piece.
“It’s a rollercoaster ride. I would normally suggest holding tight but that’s not going to help you really – prepare for freefall. I do think it’s quite an unforgettable night at the theatre.”
Slap will run until Saturday, October 10. Tickets range from £8 to £10. To book, visit stratfordeast.com or call the box office on 020 8534 0310.