Fringe New Play Prize
Fringe shows are the poster children for self-produced theatre – Fringe shows allow an artist or a company to develop their aesthetic and find their audience. Through the Fringe New Play Prize, PTC and the Vancouver Fringe offer BC artists a leg up in the process with material support – eight months dramaturgy, some free creation and rehearsal space, a free spot in our how-to-produce-theatre seminar series, Block P, and a free space on the Fringe Mainstage. All told, the Fringe New Play Prize is a juicy package with a $8000 value. The production costs are the responsibility of the applicant.
2019 Fringe New Play Prize Project: Mx
What of culture and ancestry lives within us, and how much is determined by our upbringing? If a part of your identity has never been nurtured, do attempts to rekindle it amount to appropriation? Does blood equal belonging? These questions form the world of Mx, a boundary-pushing, bouffon-inspired work exploring what it means to be mixed-race and Black in the world today. Pulling on elements of satire, physical theatre, and mythology from the African Diaspora, Mx cracks open notions of Black and queer identity through the lens of a character stuck in the in-between.
Mx premieres at the Vancouver Fringe Sept. 5-15, 2019
From the Playwright:
The concept for Mx was born from a deep sense of needing to unpack my racial identity and untangle my personal history as a mixed-race kid. Raised in Vancouver by my white Canadian mother, I grew up with little connection to the Black community in the city, which was at that time particularly small in number. It was not until late into my teens, witnessing the onslaught of police murders of unarmed Black people in the States, that I was unavoidably confronted with the question, “Where do I fit?” A feeling of needing to take a side surfaced and would not dissipate. I all at once became sharply aware of the very particular circumstances of my childhood: raised in a white family, and brought up in liberal social environments that professed themselves to be colour-blind, I viewed my own blackness as if at a distance, an interesting anecdote rather than a true part of myself. The process of reclaiming my cultural inheritance through finding and understanding my place in the Black community was a key trigger for the creation of this piece.
The honorific Mx comes from the work of feminists and trans and non-binary communities to advocate for an honorific that does not denote gender or marital status; the term also speaks in a multilayered way to the intersections of liminal identity that this show explores. For myself a young artist in the current political climate, the intersectionality of my identity is a particularly charged point of focus. The questions of racial identity that birthed this show are deeply interconnected with my experiences of gender and sexuality as fluid in nature, rather than fixed. The ways in which mixed-race people must navigate the expectations of different ethnic communities are mirrored within the queer community; sexualities and gender identities that do not fit into a binary face specific and multifaceted challenges to do with representation and erasure. While there are certainly privileges inherent in an ability to move between worlds, (for example, light-skinned Black folks such as myself who can pass as white or “racially ambiguous” benefitting from a dominant culture of white supremacy) in many cases, there is a also sense of being othered from all sides.
As people of blended and fluid identities, our experiences form an allegory for the political discussions of the day: how can we reconcile the seemingly opposing parts of ourselves? Where does one find acceptance wide enough to encompass these differences? For me it is clear that we of intersectional identities bring a unique perspective to the fight to dismantle the patriarchal and white supremacist systems of our society. By throwing a spotlight on these experiences and tearing down the wall between audience and performer, Mx seeks to challenge the hold of these oppressive power structures on our minds and hearts, as artists, audiences, and human beings in the world today.