LOST in TRANS: Dickie Beau is week two of the International Progress Festival of Performance and Ideas - Drew Rowsome - MyGayToronto
LOST in TRANS: Dickie Beau is week two of the International Progress Festival of Performance and Ideas 09 February 2018
by Drew Rowsome -
Once again, "It is a shame that by the time most of you read this piece, you will already have missed your chance to experience" LOST in TRANS as part of the International Progress Festival of Performance and Ideas. Anticipation was high, this is artist/creator Dickie Beau's first time in Toronto and LOST in TRANS comes trailing accolades from other festivals as well as endorsements from some of Toronto's most genre-bending drag queens. A pre-interview with Beau did not happen and it is probably just as well, my research had naively concentrated on Beau's expansion of drag, and that is only a fraction of what LOST in TRANS is.
LOST in TRANS begins with video projections of images that encompass the mysterious and the disturbing with an emphasis on eyes (with direct references to Un Chien Andalou), vaginas and hyena self-castration. The voice-over teases Beau's apparent diva behaviour. And then we move into uncharted performance art territory reminiscent of the work of 2boysTV with whom Beau is collaborating on a mystery project while he is town. Two audio tapes about lost or thwarted love form the centrepieces and projected characters offer varying perspectives on drag, trans and sex work.
The myth of Narcissus and Echo form a framework and Beau is a compelling but relentlessly ponderous performer as he moves with an androgynous balletic grace through a series of costume changes and use of minimal props. Pegasus makes an appearance on crutches but the scrim for the projections is deliberately designed to provide a distance and a constant reminder to focus on the words. And then, in a bravura finale, Beau takes lip-syncing to an entirely new level with a passage that is erotic, disturbing and requiring incredible technical skill. The surprise ending is already known, but it is still startling and a reveal worthy of the finest drag queen.
More mime and serious clowning than drag, LOST in TRANS contains images and ideas that haunt and linger. The various threads combine in eerie ways to create a whole that remains enigmatic but that settles in the gut and resonates. While not as exuberant as MDLSX, LOST in TRANS bodes well for the many offerings the International Progress Festival of Performance and Ideas has in store over the next few weeks. And I can't wait to see what creations and new directions Beau's work inspires for the artists and drag queens who witness it.
LOST in TRANS continues until Sat, Feb 10 and the International Progress Festival of Performance and Ideas continues until Sun, Feb 18 at The Theatre Centre, 1115 Queen St W. progressfestival.org