AUDIENCE FEEDBACK (UK Premiere, 2023)
The play premiered in 2023 at The Carver Theatre, Marple with the following cast:
Darren/Lois: Mike Lawlor
Jackie: Julia Taylor
Simon: Dan Bond
Lucy: Danielle Austin
Jo: Martin Hancox
It was directed by Martin Paul Roche.
Darren is the epitome of middle-aged manhood: of modernity, of masculinity, of marriage, of monotony. His life is filled with satisfying expectations, roles, cultural and relationship norms and the identity which comes with them. But that is the outer Darren.
Because there is also the inner Darren who lives in a world that the ‘real’ world never sees. An alternate world where he knows himself by more than just another name. It is a surreal place of solitude, loneliness, questioning. But equally, such hopes and desires; a yearning to be free and one day, to be at ease in more than his own skin. A world of comfort, of confidence in which ‘just being yourself’ takes on a fulfilled life of its own.
But it is a world where only he exists and with him, his secret. And with his secret come the issues he fights with every minute of every day: conflict, confusion, guilt, fear, betrayal. They are now polluting and poisoning both worlds and will soon make them both uninhabitable for him.
Time is running out. And why? Because Darren is trying to please two people in one body.
Some thoughts from the writer ...
I set out with the writing to treat the subject matter sensibly and respectfully.
The style of the writing will hopefully make those who might perform it appreciate that it needs the space to be reflected upon by the audience/observer.
Don’t labour it or wallow in the language but equally, allow moments ‘their moment’; affording the audience member the opportunity to explore in real time, the emotions presented.
I wanted it to be about real people and relationships, the ordinariness of life and how ‘the ordinary’ is regained by adjusting, accepting to a ‘new ordinary.’
I appreciate that it is very difficult to address the subject of being Trans in the space of two acts of a play. I therefore decided not to focus on the aspect of physically dressing in clothing associated with another sex, but more about how a family manage the disclosure, the event which brings it about and the immediate consequences. I have tried not to look at the subject through rose tinted glasses either and (hopefully) avoided unrealistic interactions and resolution.
I’ve ended up presenting both acceptance and non-acceptance as an illustration of views and the responses/reactions which one might expect without being (again, hopefully) stereotypical. I was also very clear that the play was not about humour and for searching for humour within it. If there was an occasion to smile or to laugh it came naturally from either genuine interaction between people and potentially in performance from (perhaps) an audience member being uncomfortable or challenged, not knowing how to react, to process situations and the relationships presented.
I am more than mindful that this play just touches the surface and that was intentional. The facets, the issues are too varied and complex to address every angle, opinion, emotion. I think that my approach with the storytelling in having the action spanning just one day, accommodates that.
Finally, I hope the writing is felt to be supportive, constructive and adds a positive contribution to the whole narrative concerning those who are Trans or are exploring their gender identity. In doing so, I also sincerely hope that it influences opinions of those outside the Trans community and who have no experience of it, in a way which furthers the hopes and aspirations of those affected by it; that at the very least, people will want to know more, want to understand.
After all, in all aspects of life, acceptance costs nothing but means everything. With that in mind, please take the time to see the details below about The Beaumont Society.
Martin Paul Roche (2021)
NB: The artwork featured is a specially commissioned piece for the play and is by the Russian artist, Victoria Mironenko who currently lives in the UK.
Present day and the action all takes place within the course of one day (a Saturday).
CAST: 2f, 3m.
Darren/Lois: 50+, Jackie’s husband (or of an age old enough to be the father of Lucy).
Jackie: 50+, Darren’s wife (or of an age old enough to be the mother of Lucy)
Lucy: 25+, daughter
Simon: 25+, Lucy’s husband
Jo: 40+, friend of Darren (ostensibly only features in act 2 but appears at end of act 1)
RUNNING TIME: Two acts, 50 minutes each.
The printed script (in A5 format) is available to buy now. The cost is £6 which includes p&p. Simply click on the button below.
GMDF adjudication (2023)
“With ‘Living With Lois’ we saw a palpably creative and very positive dramatic impact and were fulfilled in both delivery and execution. There was complete understanding and control of theatrical communication from the lead actors and director alike, supported by capable technicians.
This production was exhilarating theatre of almost the highest possible standard. The appreciative audience rightly paid full attention and enjoyed every minute. Theatre is a two-way street – what is sent from the stage gets a direct response from the audience. This is an exchange that doesn’t happen in the cinema or reading a book. ‘Living With Lois’ was a rare gem, shining and bright, for which I can only give thanks.” Andrew P Wild (GMDF Adjudicator)
2023 Drama Awards