Undercover is an autobiographical performance that weaves vignettes of memory, music and pop culture imagery into a narrative that explores misogyny, gender, and identity by a man who lived his first 26 years as a woman.
As a transman, I’ve realized that there are things that men say to each other in the absence of women and things women say to each other in the absence of men. In fact, there are many changes I’ve noticed, particularly in the way that people treat and perceive me after transitioning. I now find myself in the predicament of being held accountable for a social history of misogyny that I’ve lived on the receiving end of for many years prior. Undercover shares this perspective through a 5-minute show.
The viewer doesn’t know any of this backstory when they enter the space. During the piece, the viewer listens and watches a narrative that uses sound, light, images, a two-way mirror, with an element of surprise at the end. It takes place inside of a curtained off, dark space, similar to a photo or fortune-telling booth, where the viewer enters and sits down on the chair in front of a black wall that frames a 12” x 12” mirror and puts on headphones. The narration begins with the viewer looking at their own reflection. A minute in, the lights are gradually dimmed, and images relating to the audio are projected on a screen on the other side of the mirror. In the last 45 seconds, the images disappear and the light inside the space changes to reveal the narrator (me) sitting on the other side of the mirror. Putting myself in the space with the viewer on the other side of the divider, and making eye contact through the two-way mirror during the last moments of the show, breaks down the fourth wall and further humanizes the story. I understand that this may be a bit uncomfortable and that is by design.