The National Theatre of Scotland’s remarkable production telling one trans man’s powerful true story gets its English premiere for the Brighton Festival with dates at the Theatre Royal Brighton from May 9-12.
Adam was conceived for the stage by Cora Bissett who also directs. It comes written by Frances Poet.
If you are born in a country where being yourself can get you killed, exile is your only choice. Adam is the true story of a young transgender man. It charts Adam’s fight across borders and genders to find a place to call home.
Cora said: “I basically saw Adam performing a very short monologue about his life as a community production, and I was just blown away by him and his strength and his bravery. This was about four years ago, and I started to get to know him. I went up to him afterwards and said ‘Your story is extraordinary!’”
The conversation evolved, and Adam was open to his tale being dramatised, but wanted something more universal, not just his story. The play Adam is the result.
For Adam, the turning point was, having made his escape from Egypt, finding himself alone in his Glasgow flat, conscious he was a man trapped in a woman’s body. He googled the feeling and discovered thousands of people felt the same way.
“In the play Adam is played by two people. Adam plays himself and a female actor plays all the female aspects of him, though they also play lots of other roles. What I wanted to show is that human beings are not simple black and white binary. We all have elements of masculine and feminine within us. It is just that in some people there is such a great disparity between bodily form and mental identity that they have to transition.
“Adam says he felt like a cat and everyone was saying what a beautiful cat he was, but he was saying ‘But I am not actually a cat at all!’ He was a very beautiful attractive young girl, but in his brain, he was never a girl, and he has now changed his body to catch up.”
“It was a tremendous success at the Edinburgh Festival. You just never know how something it going to do down. You can never tell, and there was added anxiety because Adam had never acted professionally before.”
Initially Adam didn’t want to play himself in the piece.
“I was going to find another trans actor to play Adam, but I just could not find someone that was the right fit. And then Adam out of the blue was asking if he could audition, having not initially wanted to. And so he auditioned to play himself. But he didn’t presume the outcome such is his humility. He said he knew that being a person is very different to performing that person, and so he gave me the licence to say no if that was the answer. But he came in, and I realised that he was the only person that could play that part.”
For other stories by Phil, see: https://www.chichester.co.uk/author/Phil.Hewitt2