FTM, written and performed by David Harrison, invites you to an intimate look at a transsexual journey from Female-To-Male. Timothy is going through the first year of his gender-change. His transformation is juxtaposed with that of his mother, Jean, who (in another time period) is experiencing changes in her body and female identity as a result of having breast cancer. Their storiesmoving, funny and poignantare told through dreams, anecdotes and remembrances. This is the first play ever written and performed by a female-to-male transsexual, it is accessible and appealing to a wide audience, and it is entertaining. In most media representations of the lives of transsexuals, the focus is nearly always on the external: on the before or after. FTM is unique in that it explores the inner personal conflict, desires, challenges, and victories of the place between: the time of transition. Most transsexuals want to forget about their time of transition, says Harrison. Difficult as that may be, I wanted to capture that twilight place.
David Harrison is an actor and playwright who has made appearances on Donahue, Joan Rivers and National Public Radio. His first play, Permission, brought him (then her) to national attention, including a North American tour of the play. Harrison wrote one of seven chapters in the Cassell book, Assaults on Convention. He has also contributed to the anthologies: Pomosexuals, Men Seeking Men, Beyond Definition, and Out in All Directions: The Almanac of Lesbian & Gay America. FTM was first performed in San Francisco in May of 1994 and has been touring internationally since then. A new production of the show was recently mounted at HERE Arts Center in New York, re-staged by director Suzi Takahashi. Her recent directing credits include Chiori Miyagawa's St. George Hotel, Mark Farnen's After Dinner and Elizabeth Horsburg's Mommy and Daddy Are Doing Dirty Things. Suzi is a graduate of Barnard College, studies with the SITI company and is currently working on her Masters degree in Performance Studies at NYU.
Photos: John-Francis Bourke
What the Critics are saying
From 'Avenue Q' to 'Matt & Ben', New York stages have seen an unusual number of ladies who pack lately. But none has the balls of female-to-male transsexual playwright-performer David Harrison
Photo: Claudio Fernandez Photo: Jason Albertson
Permission by actor/playwright Catherine Harrison is a drama with a twista twist of the wrist, that is. As an audience, we are privy to the innermost sanctum of the S/M sex trade as three professional dominatrices pursue their work. Harrison takes the genre of lesbian theatre out of the kitchen and into the dungeon with this provocative and sometimes shocking work, based in part on her own experience as a professional dominatrix. She highlights an intimacy and proximity to the trade otherwise only achieved through hire.
The controversy may rage within the various feminist and academic circles, but never before have the subjects of sadomasochism and the sex trade been so plainly portrayed at all the levels of reality they occupy.
Permission is on the cutting edge of Queer theatre. It addresses areas of radical sexuality yet untouched in the lesbian community. It is a must-see production.
Wickie Stamps, Gay Community News
A unique exploration of the intersection of S/M and the sex industry; a whomping good time!
Harrison has crafted a witty, insightful and at times touching script I didnt want the play to end
Permission provides a great deal of information otherwise unavailable in our pop-mediated diet of sex myths This is a show which literally teaches you a few of the ropes, or at least insists there are a few safety rules in the S/M physical and psychological playtime repertoire.
The Bay Area Reporter