I’m extremely proud of one of my writing friends from Thursdays Writing Collective. Last year Antonette Rea turned her poems into a three person play, “Miss Understood” for the PuSh Festival here in Vancouver. It was choreographed by Noam Gagnon, directed by James Fagan Tait, produced by Chris Gatchalian and the Frank Theatre Company. The calibre of the production, as you can imagine given these collaborators, was superb and the play received a Jesse nomination for outstanding original screenplay.
Antonette herself performed in the play with Austin Eckert and Starlise Waschuk, who embody aspects of her past and changing identity. I just heard the play may be travelling to Winnipeg this year.
Antonette’s story of transition from hockey-playing, motorcycle-riding dad to someone who accepts their intersex condition and strives to integrate the feminine is compelling. Transphobia and the domino effect of discrimination against anyone “different” are powerful forces: Antonette survived unimaginable violence and horror. Her writing was, and is, a lifeline.
Here’s a 45 minute documentary by Ian Barbour and Darren Heroux (in which I pop up for a few minutes) that skillfully captures the complexities of surviving and creating despite extreme circumstances. Congrats, Antonette!