Reviewer: Sarah Terez Rosenblum
Friday Dec 11, 2009
For theatergoers unfamiliar with trans issues, Rebecca Kling’s “Trans Form” acts as a solid primer. A straightforward, heartfelt effort, this one-woman show affords Kling the opportunity to examine her passage from conflicted teen boy to secure trans woman. Peppered with lightly humorous lines, and the occasional laugh-out-loud moment, “Trans Form” has many strong points. Kling knows her stuff; her mode is impeccable, and her use of space imaginative. Trained at Northwestern, clearly she understands the fundamentals of one-person shows and adeptly utilizes their conventions. In fact, as “Trans Form’s” director, she even pushes the boundaries of those standards. For example, at one point, relating her coming-out conversation with an acquaintance, Kling segues into a PowerPoint presentation in which her imagined audience asks questions, each more ignorant than the last. Only after she loses her temper and returns to sipping a mimed beverage do we realize she’s still in a café with her friend, the entire lecture a metaphor for her coming-out experience, innovative and breezily effective.
That being said, at times it feels as if Kling is more form than content; although exuberant and sincere, occasionally she seems intent on her well-choreographed movements rather than her piece’s essence. Adding to this issue, the sheer volume of technical information Kling attempts to impart overshadows the show’s more interesting emotional aspects. Although Kling may wish to inform the trans-ignorant public, odds are her audience is comprised of individuals hip to queer issues, which begs the question, why spend time lecturing when she could be delving? Ultimately, although “Trans Form” often feels more informative than transformative, and Kling’s use of objects to discuss her emotional state grows stale (her past is heavy, we get it, now put down the trunk), the show is, overall, a worthy effort by a burgeoning Chicago talent.
Originally published at http://www.centerstagechicago.com/theatre/shows/8559.html#review