This project began 2 years ago when I was faced with the task of creating a final performance for my Masters degree in Drama & Theatre Studies at the University of Kent. I interviewed over 30 lesbian and bisexual women from UK and the USA about their experiences of coming out and turned the stories into monologues.
After much devising and rehearsing, the show 'Until She Showed Me Otherwise' was born. I performed the one woman show on March 25th 2010 to a small, intimate audience of 40 people at the University of Kent. The show was a mixture of monologues, facts, video, projections and me! talking directly to the audience about what it's like to be a lesbian and come out in today's society.
I was lucky enough to interview some wonderful women and collect some incredible stories, the majority of which live on this website for anyone to read and, perhaps, relate to.
The performance was a success and I received some great feedback about the project as a whole:
REVIEW OF 'UNTIL SHE SHOWED ME OTHERWISE'
BY GEORGINA EVENDEN
"The night begins with a relaxed atmosphere as Ellis Young welcomes us into the intimate space she has created in order to perform a one woman show in which she engages us with stories of lesbian and bi-sexual women. As a lesbian herself, Young has a strong connection to the verbatim material and she shows a passion and respect for the women she embodies as well as revealing her own personal 'coming out' story. Her persona is one which is comparatively a cross between the carefully constructed persona of Lian Aramis in 'Swimming to Spalding' and Kristin Fredricksson's relaxed amicability in 'Everything Must Go'. There are also elements which strongly resemble the form of 'The Vagina Monologues' and work magnificently.
Young's characters and the stories they tell are intriguing and yet heart-breaking; Young has an ability to draw the audience in, at times using us, without expectation or pressure, to read out individual stories of women which are capable of inducing shock and dis-belief. It is an eye-opening experience for anyone who refuses to accept that there are still problems in the acceptance of gay women in our society today. The effect is one similar to DV8's 'To Be Straight With You'; you leave the theatre feeling ignorant of the issues still plaguing the gay community and at times, this realisation brings a tear to your eye.
The show is strong, engaging and full of impact. Young raises issues that need to be raised without preaching or running her audience into the ground with overly-emotional lesbian horror stories. There is a careful balance of humour and integrity which keeps the audience amused and involved."
Now the time has come to revisit the project, interview more women, restructure the show and perform it again.
'Until She Showed Me Otherwise' will be performed as part of the SOLO Festival on 28th July 2012 at the Lord Stanley Theatre, Camden Park Road, London.
I am currently collecting more stories to add to the project and integrate into the performance.
If you would like to contribute to the project then please visit the Share Your Story page and follow the instructions.