Written and performed by Travis Alabanza
Directed by Sam Curtis Lindsay
Lightly wrapped in a theatre craft exterior, BURGERZ is hard-hitting confessional performance. The pain here is real pain, the plea for help a genuine plea for help, and the accusations of society inescapable.
Alabanza invites the audience into their world, cleverly weaving a burger recipe into an elaborate metaphor for (parts of) the transgender experience. It’s two parts painful and one part playful, which is one part more playful than the particular experiences being relayed. The beauty, however, is in the balance. There is enough breathing space created through moments of comedy, of empowerment, and even surrealism, for those moments of deep discomfort to properly land.
To help, one audience member joins the otherwise sole performer on stage for the majority of the show. It’s ambitious, and no doubt could be disruptive if the audience member can’t handle the tension, but our chosen representative served dutifully as sous-chef and co-performer. The dynamic created on the night was a successful shift towards something like a dialogue, ranging from friendly banter right through soul searching discussion and even to blunt accusation.
Perhaps most impressive and memorable are the moments in which the relationship moves beyond performer-audience to one between human and humans. Alabanza gives a heart wrenchingly personal portrayal, and I highly encourage anyone who has never quite related to a trans person to come see the show (as well as everyone else).
If you think transphobia has nothing to do with you, it’s time to wake up and smell the burgers.