Rewriting Masculinity / Otteita maskuliinisuuden sanakirjasta
The documentary theatre piece Transformations rewrites masculinity. At the same time it explores womanhood and gender plurality, as well as asks who is allowed to define gender and what the consequences of those definitions are. The performance is based on the many experiences of the gender diverse cast of performers, transmasculine and other. The methods used in the performance are standup, interviews, dictionary, dance and theatre.
Teemu Mäki, the director of Transformations, writes: “People and societies largely operate on the basis of gender. To my mind the question of how to be a man or a woman or something else is crucial in every individual’s life. Some respond by adapting to and expressing their assigned gender roles, some by rebelling and creating new possibilities for themselves; recreating themselves.”
"It is estimated that one out of 500 is transgender in USA. They are not a huge part of the populatiTwo extracts from the texts spoken in the performance:
"It is estimated that one out of 500 is transgender in USA. They are not a huge part of the population, but on the other hand it means that the number of transgender people in USA is bigger than the population of Helsinki in Finland. In Europe there are about 1,5 million transgender persons.
In Finland every year about 400 persons start the gender reassignment process. The process is good, but otherwise they belong to a mistreated minority. Trans people are bullied, discriminated, beaten up and killed much more often than what's the population average. Their – our – suicide risk is also very high.
It can be difficult to live a transgender life, but according to researches practically no one regrets making the transition. The treatments can be hard and the results vary, but over 90 % of those who have received treatments are happy with the results."
"If all goes well transgender people become an encouraging example of how everyone is free to transform oneself into what one really wants to be. No one has to settle for what one already is. No one has to look for one's imaginary, authentic self, if one doesn't want to. One can also create oneself."
Written by Teemu Mäki, with the performers.
Directed by Teemu Mäki.
Annu Kemppainen (only on video)
Lexie Matheson (only on video)
Jennah Vainio (only on video).
Assistant choreographer: Pia Lindy.
Video direction and edit: Teemu Mäki.
Cinematography & color grading: Jarmo Kiuru.
Sound recording & mixing: Ville Katajala.
Light design: Anton Verho.
Photographs (used in the play) by Teemu Mäki, assisted by Erica Nyholm.
Producer: Annu Kemppainen / www.transforces.fi
In Tiivistämö, Suvilahti, Helsinki
Transforces On Stage festival at Mad House Helsinki.
Johann Sebastian Bach: English Suite #2 In A Minor, Courante (Glenn Gould)
Sinfonia Lahti & Osmo Vänskä: Voimalla seitsemän miehen (arr. Jarkko Kiiski)
DXT: Twisted Tables
Terre Thaemlitz: Trucker
Spectre: Invasion of the Body Snatchers
David Cordier: Fortune My Foe
Sun Ra: Space Is the Place
Huoratron: Force Majeure
Kone Foundation / Koneen Säätiö
Mad House Helsinki
Isabella Rothberg: "Skarpt och bildande om transidentitet", Huvudstadsbladet, 19.3.2016.
Niko Hallikainen: "Tilassa voimistuvat äänet", Tanssi & Teatteri -lehti, 3/2016.
Jussi Saarinen: "Teatterikesäarvio: Jos ajattelet, että sukupuolia on vain kaksi, käy katsomassa tämä esitys", Aamulehti, 3.8.2016.
Raili Roth: "Tunnistatko sukupuolesi? Teemu Mäki näyttää Teatterikesässä miehisyyden ja naiseuden koko kirjon", Aamulehti, 3.8.2016.
Transformations: sukupuolen(a) raja (Teemu Mäki interviewed by Jaakko Reinikainen), 4.7.2016.
Directly from the audience:
"Thanks. A wise piece in every way and truly charismatic performers. Living outside the norms makes you intelligent, because you won't get anything easily. I think about these same issues now all the time [because I'm a mother now], how insane amount of choices I make 'on behalf of' my baby."
"It was a really great and important experience. I laughed, thought about things and was also touched. Thanks."
"Thanks. I felt so free. Meaningfulness. Laughter. Tears. I also love the fact that you have such a strong rhythm in your theatre works. And I'm a fan of all your performers. Thanks. And next time I have to bring my kids too, since one of them last year announced to be a pansexual and the other one bisexual."
March 2016, Tiivistämö, Suvilahti, Helsinki,
August 2016, Tampere Theatre Festival.
February 2017, STOA, Helsinki.
April 2017, Warehouse9, Copenhagen, Denmark.
September 2017, Vaba Lava, Tallinn, Estonia.