And Now a Word from Johanna Nutter…

This piece was originally written for the Charlebois Post – a Montreal based English-language theatre blog. Johanna Nutter will be performing her smash hit, My Pregnant Brother, at FemFest 2012: Staging Identity in September. For more information on showtimes and tickets, check out www.femfest.ca

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I think there’s a point where fear gets so intense that it sort of blows itself up. Once this happens, all that’s left to do is step boldly from one moment to the next. I’m there right now. I just checked the bag containing my little white rocking chair and am now tangoing my way to British Columbia for the west coast première of My Pregnant Brother. For those of you who haven’t seen the show, it’s a solo piece in which I relive the experiences surrounding the birth of my niece. My brother (née my sister, transgender for over a decade, still in possession of reproductive parts) got pregnant and needed me at a time when I was trying to change my own identity by shrugging off the overblown sense of responsibility my childhood had helped to contrive. Of course, hilarity ensues…The show’s doing well. It’s won some awards, toured a bit.

In November, the French incarnation (translated by yours truly) will open at La Licorne, granting a longtime wish of mine to act en français. But the most beautifullest part of that is that they have asked me to also present the show in its original English language on Friday nights. This will be a fledgling attempt to bridge the two theatrical solitudes and I want to help it fly. Hence this blog: for the next week or so, I will be posting regular updates on the whole West Coast Experience.

What makes this experience blog-worthy is the fact that the two main characters in the play (outside of yours truly); my mother and brother, will be introduced to it for the first time. Up to now, all they have had to go on are the reviews, which have often resorted to over-simplifications, no doubt in the interest of keeping the word count within a prescribed ballpark. Calling my mother a “spaced-out hippie” gives the reader an easy image, but it doesn’t come anywhere close to describing the kaleidoscope of states she is capable of. But that’s what us writers have to do sometimes; generalize to save time and space—the great thing about blogging is; we can go on and on and if you run out of time, you can just stop reading.

But yes, it’s been just over two years since I first stood in front of an audience and said, “My name is Johanna and I’m going to tell you my story” and Mum and James have been very patient. They’ve managed to keep their fears on the back porch and have been cautiously supportive of every run. But, well, we’re a sensitive bunch of Nutters and it’s safe to say that my family has always been dependably unpredictable. And it’s not only their reactions that have propelled me to this place beyond fear; I wonder also how I am going to be able to become my mother and brother when they are sitting right there in the audience? Actually, that’s kind of a fascinating question…Perhaps, what lies beyond fear is curiosity. Stay tuned…
Check out the continuing saga of Johanna’s journey to B.C. on the Charlebois Post.
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